This item has been excerpted from the prepared Commencement Address to the graduates of Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif., on May 18, 2013.
What politics taught me that current graduates need to know…
I recently turned thirty, which I know seems like a generation away to those of you graduating this morning. But it’s more than just the worst. Thirty is a year where you’re left straddling two worlds. One foot stands in the world of the young, among the bright eager minds and supple bodies of students like you. And the other foot stands in the world of the grey and decrepit; the ancient shapes of your professors and parents; their dulling senses; their craggily, wizened faces.
And by the way, congratulations parents! This is your day too.
But what it means is that I am in a position to talk about life after college — as someone who just lived through it. For example, do you remember how your elementary school felt enormous? But then when you returned years later, you were amazed by how small it actually was? In time, your chosen professions will feel exactly the same way. That is not to say that you won’t have almost unlimited opportunities. But it is to say that if you sleep with someone who works in your industry, just be aware that you’re going to bump into that person at meetings and conferences and birthday parties for the rest of your life. I literally had to leave politics.
Yeah, we’re going to talk about it. Your love is a delicate flower.
So, I’m going to skip the platitudes, OK? I want this to be a practical commencement address. And I’m going to do my best to tell the truth — even when it’s uncomfortable to say, even when I probably shouldn’t say it. Because you’re already swimming in half-truths More…