Welcome to New York (University) indeed, Taylor Swift. On May 18, Swift attended the school’s 2022 commencement ceremony at Yankee Stadium — where she not only became an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts, but also delivered a speech to the school’s graduating students. Even if you’re not one of the graduates (and congratulations if you are), Swifties everywhere can benefit from the “22” singer’s words of wisdom. Her best quotes and moments are recapped below.
NYU announced Swift’s academic achievement in March, describing her as “one of the most prolific and celebrated artists of her generation.” But if you’re a seasoned Swiftie, you might remember that Swift has been manifesting this for quite some time. During 73 Questions with Vogue in 2016, she said getting an honorary doctorate degree was a lifetime goal of hers. Why? “Because Ed Sheeran has one, and I feel like he looks down on me now because I don’t have one.”
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Hours before her speech, Swift started the day on TikTok — sharing footage of her putting on her cap and gown, taking grad pictures, and heading to the event. “Wearing a cap and gown for the very first time,” she wrote in the caption.
Quotes From Taylor Swift NYU Speech
On her cap and gown: “Last time I was in a stadium this size, I was dancing in heels and wearing a glittery leotard. This outfit is much more comfortable.”
On her family: “I know that words are supposed to be my thing, but I will never be able to find the words to thank my mom and dad, my brother Austin, for the sacrifices they made every day so I could go from singing in coffee houses to standing up here with you all today, because no words would ever be enough.”
On her new degree: “I’d like to thank NYU for making me — technically, on paper, at least — a doctor. Not the type of doctor you would 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. Of if your emergency was that you needed a person who can name over 50 breeds of cats in one minute.”
On her “fantasy” college experience: “As a kid, I always thought I would go away to college, imagining the posters I would hang on the wall on my freshman dorm. I even set the ending of my music video for my song, “Love Story,” at my fantasy, imaginary college, where I’d meet a male model reading a book on the grass, and with one single glance, we realized we’d been in love in our past lives. Which is exactly what you guys all experienced at some point in the last four years, right? But I really can’t complain about not having a normal college experience to you. Because you went to NYU during a global pandemic ... I imagine the idea of a normal college experience was all you wanted, too. But in this case, you and I both learned that you don’t always get all the things in the bag that you selected from the menu in the delivery service that is life. You get what you get.”
On her advice to new grads: “Decide what is yours to hold, and let the rest go. Often times, the good things in your life are lighter anyway — so there’s more room for them. One toxic relationship can outweigh so many wonderful, simply joys. You get to pick what your life has time and room for. Be discerning.”
On questionable choices: “Learn to live alongside cringe. No matter how hard you try to avoid being cringe, you will look back on your life and cringe retrospectively. Cringe is unavoidable over a lifetime ... you can’t avoid it, so don’t try to.”
On trying hard: “Effortlessness is a myth. The people who wanted it the least, were the ones I wanted to date and be friends with in high school. The people who want it the most, are the people I now hire to work for my company.”
On learning from the hard stuff: “Having the world treat my love life like a spectator sport in which I lose every single game was not a great way to date in my teens and 20s! But it taught me to protect my private life fiercely.”
On new perspective: “Losing things doesn’t just mean losing. A lot of the time, when we lose things, we gain things, too.”
On moving forward: “Hard things will happen to us. We will recover, we will learn from it, we will grow more resilient because of it. And as long as we are fortunate enough to be breathing, we will breathe in, breathe through, breathe deep, and breathe out. And I am a doctor now, so I know how breathing works.”
Standout Graduation Moments
Swift waved to fans and fellow grads as she walked through Yankee Stadium.
Before her speech, Swift was given her honorary degree — and winked when Tisch School of the Arts’ Jason King mentioned her re-recorded albums.
Tweet About Taylor Swift’s NYU Speech
Naturally, fans kept up with the commencement festivities on Twitter.