Taylor Swift treated New York University’s Class of 2022 to “Taylor’s Version” of a graduation ceremony as she delivered their commencement speech and received an honorary doctorate of fine arts on Wednesday afternoon.
The three-time Grammy Album of the Year winner spoke on behalf of all the program’s honorary doctorate recipients, whose distinguished accomplishments she rattled off before reflecting on her own perceived qualifications: “I’m 90% sure I was invited because I have a song called ’22.'”
She also extended greetings to the families and support systems of each graduate in attendance with a reference to her 2015 tourist-friendly anthem, “Welcome To New York,” quoting the hook “it’s been waiting for you” with a wry smile.
Swift thanked the university for making her “technically, on paper at least, a doctor,” just “not the type of doctor you’d want around in case of an emergency, unless your specific emergency was that you desperately needed to hear a song with a catchy hook and an intensely cathartic bridge section.” She did, however, offer her services if there was ever a need for someone “who could name over 50 breeds of cats in under one minute.”
She recalled her own unique education journey, which involved home-schooling while on tour and staging her dream college scenarios via music videos like “Love Story.” She connected that experience, or lack thereof with the Class of 2022, saying: “I can’t really complain about not having a normal college experience to you because you went to NYU during a global pandemic.”
In terms of advice, Swift opted for several “life hacks” which started with “catch and release” meaning “You can’t carry all things, all grudges, all updates on your ex, all enviable promotions your school bully got at the hedge fund his uncle started. Decide what is yours to hold and let the rest go.” Her second tip was “learn to live alongside cringe” as a way to avoid “hiding your enthusiasm for things.”
Swift cautioned the audience about turning to her for advice and instead encouraged they find their own path , sharing that making “my mistakes led to the best things in my life.” She also made reference to her trials as a 15-year old growing up in the public eye while facing the adversity of the music industry, saying: “Getting canceled on the internet and nearly losing my career gave me an excellent knowledge of all the types of wine.”