From Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey to Beyonce: some inspirational quotes for the graduating class of 2020

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, celebrities teamed up to send their wishes and advice to the graduating class of 2020, and also honoured them with videos, performances, speeches, and more.

The coronavirus pandemic and the following lockdown has affected people's lives in many ways across the globe. While several people lost their loved ones, many others have lost their jobs.

But this period of agony has brought out kindness, gratitude, and will to help others in times of uncertainty. 

In this scenario, millions of students graduating this year missed out on an important milestone in their lives - their graduation.

While many graduated over zoom calls and video ceremonies, and some still await their results, celebrities took to Instagram and Facebook lives to send their wishes and advice to the graduating class of 2020. 

HerStory takes a look at some inspiring quotes and best advice by celebrities for the graduating class of 2020. 

Oprah Winfrey - What will your essential service be?

"Even though there may not be pomp because of our circumstances, never has a graduating class been called to step into the future with more purpose, vision, passion, energy, and hope.”

"I wish I could tell you I know the path forward, I don't. There is so much uncertainty. In truth, there always has been. What I do know is that the same guts and imagination that got you to this moment, all those things are the very things that are going to sustain you through whatever is coming. It's vital that you learn, and we all learn, to be at peace with the discomfort of stepping into the unknown."

"Can you use this disorder that COVID-19 has wrought? Can you, the class of 2020, show us not how to put the pieces back together again, but how to create a new and more evolved normal? A world more just, kind, beautiful, tender, luminous, creative, whole. We need you to do this because the pandemic has illuminated the vast systemic inequities that have defined life for too many for too long."

Michelle Obama - So, don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’re too angry

“We want you to know that all the work you put in to get your education is still one of the best investments that you can make. We’ve seen it for decades…the more education you have, the better you and your families are likely to fare. It’s been born out over the past couple of months and it will be the case for years to come. So you all have done something great. Hold your heads high and celebrate.”

“So, don’t ever, ever let anyone tell you that you’re too angry, or that you ‘should keep your mouth shut’. There will always be those who want to keep you silent, to have you be seen but not heard, or maybe they don’t even want to see you at all,” Obama said.

“But those people don’t know your story, and if you listen to them, then nothing will ever change.”

Beyonce Knowles - Put in that work 

“The shorter answer, put in that work. Please don’t ever feel entitled to win, just work harder.” 

“To all those who feel different, if you are part of a group that’s called ‘other’, a group that does not get the chance to be centre stage…build your own stage and make them see you.”

Meghan Markle - See this as the beginning

“See this as the beginning of you harnessing all of the work, all the values, all the skills that you have that you have embodied over the last four years . . . now you channel that.”

Malala Yousafzai, who is also graduating this year 

"I know that we are heading into an uncertain future, and everyone says that things will not be the same as they were before. But I know they will be better, because when we go through some tough challenges, we learn about who we are and what we value in our life. So, I'm hoping the future will be even better as we become more responsible people."  

Simone Biles - Your victory lap

"Well, graduates, today is your bus ride home. Your victory lap. It is our chance to tell you that we know how hard you worked to bring home that diploma. I know you're missing what is supposed to be your medal ceremony, but that ceremony doesn't change a thing. You've already won.”

Cardi B - It’s more than a diploma

“I also want to tell you guys it's more than a diploma, it's more than graduation, it's knowledge, it's knowing that you did it.”

“Now you're about to start your life. You're about to make some money and you're about to show your skills on what you worked for.”

Awkwafina - Keep on trucking

"I know that you guys are graduating under very unusual and not ideal circumstances, but you guys made it. And making it is not always an easy thing to do," 

“You’re gonna make mistakes. You’re supposed to. That’s how ... all this works."

“Some other tips and advice I can give you: Just keep on trucking, keep on going, move into the moon, do not microwave metal, not even a tiny spoon.”

Chelsea Handler - Embrace rejection

"Embrace rejection, whether it's from a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a coworker, or a boss. Rejection doesn't feel like something you want to embrace, but rejection is never permanent.

“Your perseverance and your tenacity is what people will remember. It's not that you will fall down because we know everyone falls down, and it is how you get back up, and that you continue to get back up."

"What other people think of you is never as important as what you think of yourself." 

Megan Rapinoe - Leave your mark 

"I know first-hand the power of a movement led by and for the next generation. You are that next generation. Take the torch and leave your mark. Put your stake in the ground and build the future you want and you believe in and fight like hell to do it."

Edited by Megha Reddy


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