8 Of The Best Graduation Speeches You Missed This Year

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You don't have to be a recent graduate to hear some wise (and often hilarious) advice. Here are eight of the most inspiring graduation speeches from 2017.

For many college students, just getting to the podium to accept their diploma is gift enough for the years they've spent staying up writing papers, working campus jobs, and cramming for exams.

But an incredible graduation speaker can really be the cherry on top.

Even if you didn't graduate this year, you can still benefit from hearing the advice and often hilarious anecdotes from these notable speakers from politicians to poets and actors.

1. Oprah Winfrey at Smith College

"You ask the question, 'how can I be used?'" she said. "Life, use me. Show me through my talents and my gifts, show me through what I know, what I need to know, what I have yet to learn, how to be used in the greater service to life."

2. Octavia Spencer at Kent State University

The "Hidden Figures" actress told grads to stop comparing themselves to others.

"Comparing yourself to other’s success only slows you down from finding your own," she said. "No one came here the same way, and you won't all achieve success the same way."

3. Sen. Bernie Sanders at Johnson State College

Sanders stood in front of the graduates in his home state's school to encourage them to act, as the future is in this generation's hands.

"If there was ever a time in history for a generation to be bold and to think big, to stand up and to fight back, now is that time."

4. Dame Helen Mirren at Tulane University

The Academy Award-winning actress told students to overcome their fears of being good enough and facing failure.

"Throw caution to the winds, look fear straightaway in its ugly face, and barge forward," she said. "And when you get past it, turn around and give it a good swift kick in the ass."

5. Will Ferrell at University of Southern California

The "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" actor stood in front of USC to talk about facing our critics in order to earn success, even bringing up poor movie reviews he's received.

"Enjoy the process of your search without succumbing to the pressure of the result," he said. "Trust your gut, keep throwing darts at the dartboard. Don’t listen to the critics and you will figure it out."

6. Hillary Clinton at Wellesley College

The former secretary of State returned to her alma mater to dole out some words on making your voice heard.

"If you feel powerless, don't," she said. "Don't let anyone tell you your voice doesn't matter."

7. Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard University

The Harvard drop-out returned to talk about purpose and change in the world.

"I know a lot of you will have your own stories just like this," he said. "A change in the world that seems so clear you’re sure someone else will do it. But they won’t. You will."

8. Daveed Diggs at Brown University

Performer, rapper, and writer most known for his role in Hamilton, Diggs delivered a graduation speech that more resembled a poem to the 2017 graduates at Brown University.

“Our world desperately needs you now,” Diggs said. “We need your new ideas because our old ones have made a big mess of things."

Who was your favorite graduation speaker from 2017? Tell us in the comments.

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