Commencement Speech

Oh no! MSP University’s graduation ceremony starts in just a few minutes, but the commencement speaker Valerie Valencia is nowhere to be found! Fortunately, she left a copy of her notes behind, and it might have some initial clues about where she is. Can you take an initial look and figure out her location within San Francisco?


Welcome, graduates; we at this school are nor pupils neither teachers for the West, we are disciples of God and teachers for ourselves.

Having said that, the first thing I want to say is don’t be scared–all the giddy excitement you feel (and that I feel with you as you graduate), my guess is you’re also feeling a little uncertain today–to tell the truth we always feel unsure.
One must realize that fear is stupid (so are regrets), and one must expect to feel afraid but not retreat.
So go forth and “x-cel” in all the things you try to do, for the biggest thing is to have a swagger when you take the field, to walk like you belong with the best, go up to the plate like you know you belong with the best.

Actually, to make a point your school may not endorse, universal education through schooling is not feasible.
In my own work, in which I needed to create a piece of art that’s fresh and new, I did not make use of intelligence, mathematics or maps.

Don’t seek to outdo your peers with unrelenting pride–life is wonderful, but nonetheless a series of trade offs, especially between business/professional endeavours and family/community.
Every adult, whether he is a follower or a leader, a member of a mass or of an elite, was once a child, whether he’s a lieutenant colonel, king, or even Pope.
And of course the road ahead will have its kinks; at times you have to struggle a bit, hustle a little, and be willing to go bankrupt.
Come to terms with that fact, and remember all the ways to be a friend, given that when we talk about having a life of significance and meaning, it’s not about fame or money or resources; it’s about people and lives and hearts.
Heroic, perfect lives may seem the norm–actually, though, perfect isn’t normal, nor is it interesting.
Quaintly, to take a look around the room today, everyone thinks that we’re perfect; please don’t let them look through the curtains, so to speak.

Understand that, the older you get, the more you are aware that (my choice of words is very careful here) everybody has a certain way of seeing things, which they have to honour.
Old age can bring about many other insights, like this cliché that often guides my way: the older you get, the more you realise it’s not what happens, but how you deal with it.
Truthfully, whatever else happens in life, I enjoy nothing more than spending time with my loved ones, young and old, and at least once a year we get together for a formal family photograph.
Eventually I think you have to let go of this idea that you can be precious about everything, and let it be the abstract mess that it is.


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