The creator of ABC’s hit television series “Scandal” was chosen to give a rewarding commencement speech to the graduating class of 2014 at Dartmouth University. Rhimes was a fellow graduate in 1991 at the school.
What made the commencement speech so awesome was that she never once gave the audience anything that they would expect in a speech directed to a graduating class. She was raw, open, and intense with her words. She wanted the graduates to hear and feel the truth about growing up and stepping into the real world.
Rhimes mentioned how scared she is, when talking in front of a bunch of people. She is a writer, giving words for others to say is what she’s good at. Rhimes expressed her thoughts about her fear; the dry mouth, heart beating so fast, everything moving in slow motion and the possible “pooping” in her pants, only to have the audience and herself at ease.
Rhimes gave some major lessons and experiential learning points to the graduating class. Most of her advice streamed from her days as a student in an Ivy League college. She talked about her ‘dream’ of possibly becoming the next Toni Morrison. Although, twenty years later, she was not given the Nobel Prize for best author, but she was able to meet the person she so bashfully dreamed of becoming. “I had dinner with Toni Morrison, and all she wanted to talk about was Grey’s Anatomy.”
She talked to the graduates and congratulated them for being in front of her, but she also mentioned that today is not a celebration for them. The day belonged to the parents, mentioning that it is their celebration for their freedom. “This day you call it your graduation day, but it’s not about you,” said Rhimes. “This is their day, this is the day that they take back their lives. This is their freedom, their independence day.”
Rhimes went on talking about dreams; what you make of it and the fact that a dream is only a dream. “Dreams are lovely, but they are only dreams,” she said. “Fleeting, ephemeral, pretty, but doesn’t come true just because you want them to.”
The fact that she was being completely honest with the graduates, the parents and faculty is the reason why her speech was inevitable and noted as a great speech.
“My dreams did not come true, but I worked really hard and ended up building an empire out of my imagination, so my dreams can suck it!”
You can check out the entire speech here.