5 Commencement Speeches To Listen To When You’re Feeling Uninspired

In true #TBT fashion, I scrolled through my phone to find a cool looking, throwback Thursday picture that I could pair with a dope Big Sean quote (ya’ll – his I Decided album will forever jam). Instead of finding a pic with me in my cutest brunch or happy hour fit, I landed upon an old photo of my mom and I at my MBA graduation.

Mommy & Me 😀


Anyone that knows me can attest that I am the BIGGEST mama’s baby! My mom is the only living parent that I have, and she is also my heart, my hero, my #1 love, and I thank God that she has been with me for every milestone in my life.

In true supermom fashion, my mother has always motivated me, and instilled so much hope and self-confidence in myself. She has always been my biggest cheerleader, and honestly with the words of wisdom that flows so easily from her lips, I know she can motivate even the most pessimistic person.

During page-turning times in your life when the future seems unknown, you need peptalks from someone like my mom to keep you inspired. When I’m not able to chat with my mom, I turn to a couple of my favorite commencement speeches for motivation.

If you need a little inspiration, here are some of the best commencement speeches that will definitely do the trick.

1. Oprah Winfrey at Harvard University 

The woman above needs no introduction, and everyone can agree that she is the epitome of intelligence, grace, and success. Oprah is proof that you are not a product of where you come from, because with drive, consistency, and faith, you can achieve the success that’s destined for you.

2. Denzel Washington at The University of Pennsylvania

One of my favorite lines from Denzel’s speech is, “I’ve found that nothing in life is worthwhile unless you take risks.” When Denzel first ventured off into acting, he took a risk in stepping out of his comfort zone to pursue a career he dreamed of. Stepping outside of your comfort zone and into the path less traveled is something that many dream of doing, but few actually do. I believe that his speech above will give you self-confidence and will inspire you to challenge yourself to new levels.

3. Sean Combs (Diddy) at Howard University

If you haven’t watched the Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop documentary through Apple Music, you should definitely take time to view it (it’s a must see). Through the documentary and through the commencement speech above, Diddy inspires each of us to always be humble, hungry, and full hustle.

4. Dr. Cornel West at Spelman College

One of my favorite moments from this speech is when Dr. Cornel West exclaimed to the gleaming graduates, “It takes more courage to examine the dark corners of your own soul than it does for a solider to fight on the battle field. You have to be courageous to be a free-thinker and go against the grain.” One thing that I can admit is that as you keep living, you will experience moments that will test your faith, your actions, and your mind. It becomes easy to just go with the flow, but often times “going with the flow” doesn’t truly serve you in the end.

5. Maya Rudolph at Tulane University

You may not know her name, but I’m sure you definitely recognize her from Saturday Night Live, and some of the funniest films like Grown Ups and Bridesmaids. After you get past the awkward singing from the Tulane University choir in the beginning, you will get all the feels and inspiration from Maya’s speech. My favorite quote from her speech is, “If I must give any of you advice it would be Say Yes. Say Yes. And… create your own destiny. So hold on to your old friends. Kiss your Mama. Admit what your dreams are.”

What are some of your favorite commencement speeches? Let us know below!