Taylor Swift offered fans some “life hacks” as part of a university commencement speech on Wednesday.
The popstar was bestowed with a Doctor of Fine Arts from New York University officials during a ceremony staged at Yankee Stadium. Addressing the graduates and guests on behalf of all the degree recipients for the Class of 2022, Taylor shared some of the lessons she has learned over the course of her life and career.
“I won’t tell you what to do because no one likes that. I will, however, give you some life hacks I wish I knew when I was starting out my dreams of a career, and navigating life, love, pressure, choices, shame, hope and friendship,” she began. “Decide what is yours to hold and let the rest go. Oftentimes the good things in your life are lighter anyway, so there’s more room for them. One toxic relationship can outweigh so many wonderful, simple joys. You get to pick what your life has time and room for. Be discerning.
“Secondly, 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. Even the term ‘cringe’ might someday be deemed ‘cringe.'”
Taylor went on to advise fans not to “hide their feelings” and be open to displaying enthusiasm.
“Never be ashamed of trying. 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 most are the people I now hire to work for my company,” the 32-year-old continued.
Elsewhere in the speech, Taylor reflected on how she had to fight to be heard by music industry executives when she was a young musician, and the way in which she was urged never to make mistakes in the public eye to avoid going to “to popstar jail forever and ever”.
She also made a statement on the problematic nature of cancel culture by referring to her 2016 row with Kim Kardashian over certain lyrics in Kanye West’s song Famous.
“Being publicly humiliated over and over again at a young age was excruciatingly painful but it forced me to devalue the ridiculous notion of minute by minute, ever-fluctuating social relevance and likability. Getting cancelled on the internet and nearly losing my career gave me an excellent knowledge of all the types of wine,” she stated.
To conclude, Taylor encouraged the graduates to trust their gut instincts.
“I’m trying to tell you that losing things doesn’t just mean losing. A lot of the time, when we lose things, we gain things too,” the Blank Space singer added.