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Mike McIntyre's Annual Crowdsourced Graduation Speech

It's graduation season, so that means everyone is full of celebratory sheet cake and pithy wisdom for the next generation. As is tradition, ideastream host and Plain Dealer columnist Mike McIntyre crowdsourced a commencement speech by asking all of you to contribute a line or two.

Here's what Cleveland came up with.


To the Class of 2019:

Now what? Fasten your seat belts, really.

Don’t be a jerk; no one likes jerks. A smile and a kind word will take you a long way in life.

Remember the 3 K’s: Kindness, consideration, and compassion -- and always brush up on your spelling.

Always treat the janitor with as much respect as the CEO.

Don't be like everybody else. Be authentic. Don’t be defined by someone else's expectations of you. Define yourself! Look within. Be who you are. Always try to stand for something larger than yourself.

Time is your greatest commodity, spend it wisely. The next 20 years are going to be a blur. It all goes by faster than you ever think it will.

‘Prolly’ is not a word.

Listen more, speak less and always remember the power of the words “Thank You.”

Say ‘Yes.’

Register to vote. Vote. Vote like your life depends on it, because it does.

It’s okay to say ‘No.’

It’s not a catastrophe to still be single at 30.

Ignore the world at your own peril, it is much closer than you think it to be. Fix climate change. Protect Mother Earth.

Learn how to change your own tire.

Today’s social media post may affect tomorrow’s employment. Don't post on social media, unless it's pics of your cat or puppy, and maybe not even then. Put down your phone! Do things because you are interested in them, not because you want topost a cool photo of yourself doing them for others to notice.

Your true friends and family are far more important than likes on social media.

Nothing matters more than your family and friends. Hang on to your true friends, but welcome new people and experiences.

Get a dog.

If you’re going to hit the snooze button more than once, be sure you’re not out of dry shampoo. You can never be too early for an appointment.

Sometimes it's tough to always use perfect grammar, but strive for it, irregardless.

If you can make one person smile, laugh, or even snort, then it was a good day

Every worthwhile human experience must include humor. All things have an element of humor, find it! Spread laughter, the great painkiller.

Follow your dream, unless it’s the one in which you are the only one in a large crowd who is naked.

Never take the last cup from the office coffee pot without brewing another.

Never go to law school.

Never pet a dog that has already bitten you.

Never drink whiskey on an empty stomach.

Never make the first or third out at 3rd base.

Don’t ignore the check engine light.

Take notes. Don’t take notes on your phone, bring a pad of paper and a pen. Don’t let your degree dictate your profession! Don’t take on any type of credit without talking to your parents or a loved one first. Don’t get more than one credit card.

Don’t lead with your injuries.

Don't sit in the back and watch what happens, go to the front and make it happen.

Don’t pull up the ladder. Don’t be afraid to break the rules. Ever.

Don’t worry, everyone else is just making it up as they go along too.

Make a to-do list. Get a haircut and a job.

It really doesn’t hurt to try. Show up. Wear comfortable shoes. Always do more than the minimum required. Work hard, make it look easy. Respect is earned, not given.

Go into this world not with a feeling of entitlement but an urge to work hard to achieve your goals. Hard work really does pay off, but remember to take a step back and appreciate it. You are not just a number.

Look both ways even after the light turns green.

Whatever’s got you so mad you’re shaking, so nervous you could throw up, so sad you can’t get out of bed, it won’t matter in 5 years, so take time to feel those feelings, but move on with your life.

Choose to spend money on a great, comfortable bed (you spend 1/3 of your time there).

Choose to stop listening to the doubting voice in your head. Choose joy.

Choose your battles.

Take my advice, I’m not using it.

This speech originally appeared in Mike’s Plain Dealer column on Sunday, May 19.

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