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Shonda Rhimes rendered a Scandal-less commencement speech for Dartmouth College’s 2014 Commencement ceremony. Although she opened by saying how much she hates to give speeches it was not shown in her presentation. Shonda kept the graduates engaged with her comedic edge as she dropped loads of principles into their laps. She did not try to use elegant or over the top language, instead she remained true to herself while sharing with the audience her raw and simply stated truth.
The Grey’s Anatomy creator proved that whether she is being the mastermind behind several successful scripts or the keynote speaker for her alma mater, she just gets it. Over the course of about 20 minutes Shonda shared her personal journey as she struggled to gain success while learning powerful lessons along the way. It was not the fiery speech graduates often hear from celebrities, instead it was more of a small fireside chat.
Shonda began by telling the graduates to stop sitting around dreaming and get to work. Dreams are lovely but they are just dreams until the “dreamer” gets busy working hard to bring them to reality. This means, according the class of 91 graduate, if you do not have a job get one – even if it means doing something you do not want to until you can do something else. Do not just wait for the magical opportunity to fall into your lap.
The Scandal writer went on to say, “Perfection is impossible so forget about having it all.” Shonda explained if she is killing it on a script for one of her hit shows at work, she is probably missing out on story time at home or giving her children a bath. She might be accepting a prestigious award but the exchange would be she is missing her baby’s first swim lesson. “Something is always lost and you are always a little nauseous.” Shonda boldly stated, “It is okay” because she wants her daughters to see and know her as a working woman. In her children’s world mothers own Thursday nights and they run companies.
The 44-year-old mother told the 2014 graduating class not to substitute #hashtags for activism. She said devote some of your energy toward making the world suck a little less each week. A hashtag does not make you Dr. Martin Luther King; it does not change anything.
It is not a movement so stop sitting on your butt typing and volunteer some hours. Get out there and do something; the air you are breathing right now is rare, learn to appreciate it. Don’t be an a**hole.
Shonda said life can be hard but it is relative so count your blessings. There are still many liberties that we all experience daily that others have yet to feel. We can get an education while in other parts of the world girls are harmed simply because they want to get an education. Children die daily due to malnutrition and slavery does still exist. So yes, tomorrow may suck for you—as it has for me. But change your perspective and realize that we are incredibly lucky. We have been given a gift. Appreciate it.
One of the most important things Shonda told her audience was to stop dreaming of being someone else and get busy becoming who you are supposed to be. The film maker explained that during her younger days she wasted so much energy wishing she was Toni Morrison. At film school, Shonda says she discovered an entirely new way of telling stories. After joining film school she learned another way, other than being the Nobel Prize winning author Toni Morrison, to express the stories that were going on inside her head. Shonda said she learned a way that suited her and brought her joy.
This new way of expression flipped this switch in my brain and changed the way I saw the world. I would never have found that if I continued to waste time dreaming of being someone else.
The hit television series creator proved that she just gets it. Shonda rendered a Scandal-less commencement speech for Dartmouth College’s 2014 Commencement ceremony. Whether a script or to encourage graduates who are about to embark upon the real world Shonda proved she could hit a homerun. For about 20 minutes Shonda Rhimes shared powerful lessons with her alma mater that she has learned on her journey towards success.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)