How to give a commencement address

I don’t remember much about my college commencement address other than that it was really long and it was a cold morning in Pennsylvania and the stupid graduation hat kept popping off of my head. I wasn’t inspired, just cold and annoyed.

I just read the commencement address that David Foster Wallace gave at Kenyon College in 2005 and was floored. You should read the whole thing.


Learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed… This, like many clich?©s, so lame and unexciting on the surface, actually expresses a great and terrible truth.

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