Hello, class of 2015. I am so honorest to be here today. Dean Khurana, faculty, parents, and most especially graduating students. Thank you so much for inviting me. The Senior Class Committee. it’s genuinely one of the most exciting things I've ever been asked to do.
I have to admit primarily because I can’t deny it as it was leaked in the WikiLeaks release of the Sony hack that hen I was invited I replied and I directly quotemy own email.” Wow! This is so nice!” ”I’m gonna need some funny ghost writers.Any ideas? ”This initial response now blessly public was from the knowledge that at my class day we were lucky enough to have Will Ferrel as class dayspeaker and many of us were hung-over, or even freshly high mainly wanted to laugh.So I have to admit that today, even 12 years after graduation. I’m still insecure about my own worthless.I have to remind myself today you’re here for areason.Today I feel much like I did when I came to Harvaed Yard as a freshmanin 1999.When you guys were,to my continued shocked and horror, still inkindergarten.I felt like there had been some mistake, that I wasn’t smartenough to be in this company, and that everytime I opened my mouth.I would haveto prove that I was’t just dumb actress.So I start with an apology. This won’tbe very funny. I’m not a comedian.And I didn’t get a ghost writer.But I am hereto tell you today.Harvard is giving you all diplomas tomorrow. You are here fora reason. Sometimes your insecurities and your inexperience may lead you, too,to embrace other people’s expectations, standards, or values. But you canharness that inexperience to carve out your own path, one that is free of the burden of knowing how things are supposed to be, a path that is defined by itsown particular set of reasons.
That other day I went to an amusement park with my soon-to-be 4-yeas-old son. And I watch himplay arcade games. He was incredible focused, throwing his ball at the target.Jewish mother than I am, I skipped 20 steps and was already imagining him as amajor league player with what is his arm and his arm and his concentration. Butthen I realized what he want. He was playing to trade in his tickets for thecrappy plastic toy. The prize was much more excting than the game to get it. Iof course wanted to urge him to take joy and the challenge of the game, theimprovement upon practice, the satisfaction of doing something well, and evenfeeling the accomplishment when achieving the game’s goals. But all of theseaspects were shaded by the 10 cent plastic men with sticky stretchy blue armsthat adhere to the walls. That-that was the prize. In a child’s nature, we seemany of our own innate tendencies. I saw myself in him and perhaps you do too.Prizes serve as false idols everywhere(圣经里的false idol). Prestige, wealth, fame, power. You’ll be exposedto many of these, if not all. Of course, part of why I was invited to come to speak today beyond my being a proud alumma is that I’ve recruited some verycoveted toys in my life including a not so plastic, not so crappy one: anOscar. So we bump up against the common troll I think of the commencement address people who have achieved a lot telling you that the fruits of the achievement are not always to be trusted. But I think that contradiction can be reconciled and is in fact instructive. Achievement is wonderful when you knowwhy you’re doing it. And when you don’t know, it can be a terrible trap.
I went to apublic high school on Long Island, Syosset High School. Ooh, hello, Syosset!The girls I went to school with had Prada bags and flat-ironed hair. And theyspoke with an accent I who had moved there at age 9 from Connecticut mimickedto fit in. Florida Oranges, Chocolate cherries. Since I ’m ancient and the Internet was just starting when I was in high school. People didn’t really pay that much of attention to the fact that that I was an actress. I was known mainly at school for having a back bigger than I was and always havingwhite-out on my hands because I hated seeing anything crossed out in my notebooks. I was voted for my senior yearbook ‘ most likely to be an contestant onJeopardy ’ or code for nerdiest. When I got to Harvard just after the releaseof Star Wars: Episode 1, I knew I would be staring over in terms of how people viewed me. I feared people would have assumed I’d gotten in just for beingfamous, and that they would think that I was not worthy of the intellectualrigor here. And it would not have been far from the truth.
When I came here I had never written a 10-pape paper before. I’m not even sure I’ve writtena 5-page paper. I was alarmed and intimidated by the calm eyes of a fellowstudent who came here from Dalton or Exeter who thought that compared to highschool the workload here was easy. I was completely overwhelmed and thought thatreading 1000 pages a week was unimaginable, that writing a 50-page thesis isjust something I could never do. I Had no idea how to declare my intentions. Icould’t even articulate them to myself. I’ve been acting since I was 11. But Ithought acting was too frivolous and certainly not meaningful. I came from afamily of academics and was very concerned of being taken seriously.