COLLEGE
05/22/2016 08:12 pm ET

Sonia Sotomayor Tells Grads To Embrace The Awful 'Uh-Oh' Moments

"We can learn more from our not-so-good experiences than we can learn from our good ones."

Between the moments you'll always remember and the ones you'd rather soon forget, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor told University of Rhode Island graduates not to underestimate the cringe-worthy ones. 

"The 'ah-ha' moment is the first time you gained an insight about yourself or the world around you," she said, delivering the URI commencement speech Sunday. "The 'ah-ha' are the ones that stay with you entire life, the moment you realize things around you are not as they once seemed," Sotomayor said. 

"The uh-oh memories," she said, are the memories "where you ask yourself 'What have I done now?'" 

Sotomayor recalled to students her failure to prepare for a big job interview out of college and being embarrassingly stumped by an easy question.

"Confidence alone doesn't translate into preparation," she said.   

"The 'uh-oh' moments are worth cherishing just as much as 'ah-ha' moments: Mistakes, failures, embarrassments and disappointments are a necessary component of growing wise," Sotomayor said.

"We can learn more from our not-so-good experiences than we can learn from our good ones."

URI President David M. Dooley previously called Sotomayor a role model for students and "a true champion for equal rights and social justice."

Sotomayor clearly learned from her early misstep: the Princeton and Yale graduate eventually went on to become the first Latina justice on the nation's highest court.

HuffPost

BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
Commencement 2016 Lineup
CONVERSATIONS