5 Commencement Speech Life Lessons For the Black Girl Genius

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve likely noticed…. It’s graduation season!  AKA our favorite time of year. The parties! The celebratory photos! And the awesomely inspiring messages from commencement ceremonies everywhere! (Who’s stalking hashtags? Um, not us. Nope. Never. BUT SERIOUSLY CONGRATS #HowardU16)

And the dopest part of grad season? The speeches. Notable women have seized the stage at colleges across the world to impart their particular brand of wisdom to the Class of 2016 about to experience all the realness of the real world.

To send all of you gems into the summer a bit wiser, we’ve collected a few of our favorite messages from this season so far. Take a look at a few of the lessons we’ve learned!

Always Vibrate Higher

“Instead, take a deep breath, straighten your shoulders and do what (President) Barack Obama has always said, ‘When they go low, I go high,’” said Michelle Obama at Jackson State University. “We do not allow space in our hearts and souls for darkness. Instead, we choose faith.”

Stumble, Fall and Fail toward Mastery

Oprah graced 300 graduates with her words at the 5/15 Johnson C. Smith University commencement.  “You're going to make mistakes," she told them. "Every stumble is not a fall, and every fall is not failure.”  Something tells us May Geenie Sarah Elizabeth Lewis would agree!


Count those Blessings on Blessings on Blessings

Author and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg addressed the importance of being thankful when she spoke to the class of 2016 at the University of California at Berkeley on Saturday, May 14th. “Finding gratitude and appreciation is key to resilience,” said Sandberg. “People who take the time to list things they are grateful for are happier and healthier. It turns out that counting your blessings can actually increase your blessings.”


Rejection is a Major Key

On Saturday May 14th, Today Show host Hoda Kotb regaled the Tulane graduating class of 2016 with the true tale of the 27 rejections she received from news directors as she looked for work after her own college graduation. She eventually met Stan Sandroni, who hired her to work at the local affiliate in Greenville, MS. "You don't need everybody to like you,” Hoda imparted. “You just need one. Find your Stan."


Aspire to Inspire

Real leaders empower others, generously. National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice reminded the Florida International University Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs grads of this fact on Wednesday, May 11, 2016. “Soon enough, you’ll be in positions where people look up to you,” she said. “Be generous about extending to others the support and opportunities you received.”   


At GeenieBox, women supporting women and inspiring the world, is our jazz - Class of 2016, we hope you’re as pumped to go forth and conquer as we are. Congrats, you young, gifted and black graduate queens!

Share your favorite graduation moments and messages and tag @GeenieBox #BlackGirlGenius on Twitter and Instagram.