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The Friday Five

Graduation Season Survival Kit

By The Editors

Spring is time for new beginnings and sweet endings. If you’re not choosing a wedding gift for a June bride, you’re writing a check for a graduating nephew or two. There’s just something about this time of year that fills us with a sense of expectation, and casts our thoughts to the inspirational. So today we take a look at graduation—high school, college and, yes, law school—with five good resources to get you through it all.

1. Get in the mood. A good graduation speech gives perspective on where you’ve been and equips you with the focus to get where you want to go. It honors graduates’ hard work and points them in a practical direction for their careers. Good ones strike a nerve, too. (Read comments made on the ABAJ site about Emory University Law Professor Sara Stadler’s commencement address at 36:00.) Some of the very best speechifying of all happens at college graduations. Check Graduation Wisdom’s archive of speeches. In both video and text, the list includes J.K.Rowling at Harvard, Meryl Streep at Barnard, Carly Fiorina at MIT, Rahm Emanuel at George Washington and many more.

2. Fake it. If you’ve been asked to speak at a graduation ceremony and fear you’ll fall far short of those illustrious orators, you can always take the shabby route and turn to There, you can buy one of many “graduation speeches for all occasions.” Tacky. Very tacky. Just hope nobody Googles your inspiring words.

3. Dispense sage advice. Whether you’re the aunt, grandpa, cousin or dad, the event of high school graduation is a perfect opportunity to get your grad calibrated as far as money goes. You can memorize and deliver—or pass along—this recent article from the Wall Street Journal. We think it does the job rather nicely.

4. Look back in anger. While the pundits are saying the job market for new college grads is looking better, things are still pretty ugly out there. In fact, the Fiscal Times reported recently on college grads who would return their degree if they could. Depressing but true. And there’s a lesson in here somewhere, we’re sure.

5. Say hello to DIY schooling. Perhaps your graduate clasps nothing in her hand but a BA in Liberal Arts and a resistance to further schooling. Maybe listening to all those graduation speeches makes you wish you’d taken a different direction yourself. No fear. There are ways to build skills and gain knowledge that don’t involve worrying about your GPA or paying the price of a small seaside cottage for tuition. At Gradspot, writer Christopher Schonberger has compiled a wonderful collection of resources for the aspiring autodidact. You’ll want to bookmark this.

Categories: Daily Dispatch, Friday Five, Legal Career Development
Originally published May 27, 2011
Last updated May 11, 2020
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