Many college graduates are missing out on inspirational commencement speeches due to the coronavirus pandemic, but on Sunday, John Krasinski invited Oprah Winfrey to give graduation advice on Some Good News to make up for it. The Office star invited recent college graduates to participate in a "Graduation 2020" episode of his Some Good News web series. Each student got a personalized commencement message from surprise guests, including Stephen Spielberg, Malala Yousafzai, Jon Stewart, and, of course, Oprah.
Krasinski asked students to submit questions to speakers, and instead of a speech, participants got to have a conversation. During the broadcast, Oprah met with a recent Harvard graduate named Amanda, who asked the TV mogul to, "think about a time in your life that felt like a low point but actually changed everything for you."
Oprah said that there had been "several times in my life" where "things didn't go the way I wanted." She added that the first and most impactful turning point occurred early in her television career. When she was 22, she got a job as an anchor for a local news network — her dream job — only to find out that she'd been assigned to work with an older coworker who, without her knowledge, sabotaged her career. Executives "demoted" the star to a local talk show. It was a blow to her confidence and self-esteem, but, Oprah said, it was actually a blessing in disguise, that ended up showing her where she was meant to be. Being on a talk show, she told Amanda, was "like coming home to myself."
The TV icon added, "I believe that failure is an opportunity to move in yourself in a different direction. It gets better, because you learn the lessons from the first time."
Later in the clip, Stewart bemoaned having to follow Oprah to offer his graduation advice. "The person on Mr. Krasinski's show before you, their question was answered by Oprah," Stewart joked to the graduate he had been chosen to speak to. "So I think it's clear sometimes in life, you're gonna get the short end of the stick." Yet, the former Daily Show host had solid advice for his graduate as well, telling him, "You're about to enter into a world where no one's grading you. Stop completing things and start living."
None of the students featured on Krasinski's web series will be able to attend an in-person commencement ceremony, but the Office star did his best to make sure these graduates enter the world feeling heartened and optimistic. And, hey, getting personal advice from Oprah certainly isn't such a bad turn of events.
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