The year 2020 has not gone the way anyone planned. Though the lockdowns due to the corona virus are lifting across the country, large gatherings are still forbidden in most places as of June 8. With most schools canceled through the rest of the year, graduation season hasn't been the traditional crowd of kids in cap-and-gown. But people have pushed to make lemonade from these lemons, with online speeches from celebrities of all stripes wishing the classes of 2020. That includes Taylor Swift's "Dear Class Of 2020" speech, which points out that life is never what anyone expects it to be, and the best choice is to learn to roll with it.
Swift was one of many famous faces who participated in this year's "Class of 2020" live stream, which aired on YouTube on Sunday, June 7. Former President Obama, who also participated in the college graduation version in May, was the headliner, speaking to high school seniors around the country. He was joined by everyone from BTS to Beyoncé, in a virtual commencement that addressed everything from the pandemic to climate change to Black Lives Matter.
Swift's clip came early on in the four-and-a-half-hour program, just before the first half-hour mark. You can see it in full, starting at the 23:40 mark in the live stream replay video below.
Where many chose to talk about big issues in their speeches, Swift decided to focus on the immediate. Her speech addressed how, for so many watching at home, this was not the graduation of their dreams. She knew what they were going through. Though she may be one of the most famous people in the world, she never got to have a regular graduation either.
I know this probably isn't the kind of graduation you thought you were going to be having, I relate to that in a lot of ways. When I was younger, I used to fantasize about high school graduation and being with all of your friends and cap and gown... and the whole thing. When I got to that point in my life when graduation was coming up, I found myself on tour with my mom on rental cars, sitting on the floor of airport rugs, and I ended up getting mailed my diploma.
But she points out, that doesn't mean they shouldn't treasure the accomplishment it represents. Swift says she was proud to have graduated, even if she didn't walk.
I guess one good lesson to come from it is, expect the unexpected but celebrate anyway. I'm so proud of you guys, and I hope that you have a wonderful time and very proud of yourselves.
Swift's message is an important one going forward. This year has upended the way the world has worked for decades, and there will still be many unexpected changes to come. For graduates to learn to handle these curveballs with grace and aplomb is the best lesson life can give them as the 2020s roll on.