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Henry Melcher

Henry Melcher

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A Commencement Speech to My Fellow 2011 Graduates

Posted: 05/18/11 06:11 PM ET

This morning I graduated from college; specifically, the celebrity mixer known as NYU. Looking out upon a sea of purple robes, plastic-frame glasses and side-swept bangs, President Bill Clinton told us that we -- the class of 2011 -- are the future. And as the future, we must change the world. But what does he really know about the world besides leading it for eight years?

Not nearly as much as me: a graduate with nearly two hours of real world experience. In this time, I've Googled how to write a cover letter, listened to Vitamin C's "graduation" three times and searched my apartment for what smells like a dead mouse. Clearly, I am ready take on the world and I'd like to share my wisdom with other 2011 graduates who are procrastinating their job search by reading this blog.

I agree with President Clinton that we are the future. It is up to our class to feed the hungry, clothe the poor and create a hand dryer that actually dries hands.

It seems, then, that we are both the future and responsible for shaping it. So, if I'm getting this right, we must shape ourselves. That doesn't mean you can start touching each other's tassels under your robes. Keep your pomp out of this circumstance and show some decorum; there's a lot of shit written in Latin around here.

We must go into the world forcefully, passionately, bravely and adverbedly. Shaping the future may seem burdensome, but if time is understood as linear, it's impossible for us not to be the future. Sure, some said the class of 2010 was the future, but where are the hovercrafts and jetpacks? All we got was some more Lady Gaga songs. Oh and we reached the debt limit. Good work 2010.

Next year people will claim the class of 2012 is the future, but how can we possibly predict the future? Well, if we are making it, it's pretty simple. So I say to you 2012, get out. This is our future. Bill Clinton said so.

I agree that the class of 2011 is uniquely qualified to take on the world. We are the Obama generation -- many of us cast our first presidential vote in 2008. With our voice, we showed our commitment to work for change. And then in 2010, we bravely forgot about the - what were they called -- midterms? Look, it's not our fault, nobody told us. I guess this is why we can't have nice things.

The world has certainly changed since we entered university and tried hitting on our RA. In the colonial year of 2007, we came to school in horse and buggy wearing three cornered hats, the clear predecessor to the four cornered graduation chapeau. I fondly remember changing channels on my standard-definition television with an abacus the summer before college. Remember, how big those things were? How embarrassing.

Class of 2011, the last four years changed us too. We've come from freshmen chugging PBR's out of construction-grade funnels while skimming SparkNotes on Virgil, to shot-gunning Four Loko's and skimming SparkNotes on Rousseau. We are smarter and have higher tolerances; both will serve us well.

We've shown ingenuity in our writing by narrowing margins and right-clicking words to find more syllabic synonyms. The latter expanded our vocabulary with unnecessarily large words that were often ubiquitous. This may have been nefarious, but sue us, we're loquacious.

I firmly believe we are ready to shape -- and win -- the future. And we'll start in 17-seconds right after we watch this video of a surprised kitten again. You haven't seen it? Oh, it's amazing. There's this kitten that gets surprised.

Class of 2011, I thank you for your attention especially considering this was over 140 characters. Remember, to do as much you can. Shake hands, send resumes, iron shirts, volunteer and log out of Facebook on public computers. Throw every noodle against the wall to see what sticks. Just don't do this with actual noodles -- Ramen or otherwise -- because that's going to be dinner for a while.

Congratulations.

 

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