|Get the best of Oprah.com in your inbox. Sign up for our newsletters!|
How to Humble a Grad on Commencement Day
Imagine that you're a 2011 graduate of Hampshire College, a school popular with intellectual do-gooders. On May 21, the only things standing between you and your upcoming Peace Corps mission were a few commencement speeches that—you were willing to bet your Mexican raffia tote on this—were going to tell you to "dream big," embrace challenge" and "not be afraid of failure." You barely caught the introduction of the staff speaker, Roberta Tudryn, the beloved cashier who's worked in the school dining commons for 30 years. Then you tuned in to her words:
And that's when you thought about all those times that you chatted with Roberta in the dining hall, and you hoped that you never said anything rude or jerky, and then you remembered your grandmother, who couldn't make it to today's commencement but sent you a card so sweet it made your throat burn, and you forgot about saving the world (for now), and you forgot about that night's parties, and you jumped up and whooped for this hardworking woman who had often brightened your day and who just spent five minutes thanking you for making her job worthwhile.