Taylor Swift is an award-winning record-breaking musician and songwriter, actress and activist (and did we mention a cat enthusiast?)
But it looks like the ’22’ singer has just added another awesome title to her list: Doctor of Fine Arts!
On May 18, Dr. Taylor Swift received an honorary degree as part of New York University’s 2022 graduation ceremony along with fellow honorees Susan Hockfield (neuroscientist and former president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Felix Matos Rodriguez (Chancellor of New York City University).
The start, which took place at Yankee Stadium, caused a stir, as many hoped to know what Taylor Swift’s advice would be in the 2022 class: after all, she’s a lyricist.
Swift offered good advice on all the things that graduate life would offer: lovelessness, self-discovery, career paths, decision making, love, family.
He also offered solid advice on what he has learned through a career in the public eye and how his fellow graduates (and anyone who listens to him) could apply the lessons he learned to his own careers.
Did Taylor Swift go to college?
Swift clarified in his speech that he did not attend or graduate from an accredited college or university; in fact, he didn’t even finish high school the traditional way.
He initially posed questions when he posted an Instagram on Wednesday morning to his 210 million followers with a caption revealing that “he was wearing a cap and gown for the first time.”
Swift attended Hendersonville High School in Tennessee for two years before moving to Aaron Academy, where she graduated a year earlier while traveling.
“I went to public high school until the 10th grade and finished my studies doing homework at home on the floors of the airport terminals. Then I hit the road on a radio tour, which sounds incredibly glamorous, but it actually consisted of a rental car, motels and my mom and I pretending to fight mother and daughter during boarding because no one fes. I want the empty seat between us in the southwest, “Swift joked to the crowd.
He then regretted not having the typical college experience, imagining what it would be like to decorate his bedroom with posters and all the things a younger Taylor would have liked. But he noted that the 2022 class did not have a typical college experience either, as his four-year experience was dramatically affected by the pandemic. This was a lesson Swift maintains that both she and her fellow graduates learned in different ways.
“You and I learned that you don’t always have everything in your bag that you have selected from the delivery service menu that is life,” he said. “You get what you get. And as I’d like to tell you, you should be very proud of what you’ve done.”
What was Taylor Swift’s advice in the 2022 class?
It wouldn’t be an original work of art by Taylor Swift unless it was full of life lessons, quirky anecdotes, and some life-like advice from the big sisters.
Swift said that instead of giving direct advice, he would offer a few “life tricks” that he would like to know before starting his career and all the milestones in his personal life that happened during that trip.
One of them was to know that throughout life, when change is imminent, there will be things that we will have to let go of and things that we carry with us through different stages, jobs and relationships.
“Life can be heavy, especially if you try to carry it all at once,” Swift said. “Part of growing up and moving into new chapters of your life is about catching and releasing. What I mean by that is knowing what things to keep and what things to release. You can’t bring all things, all grudges, all updates on your ex, all the enviable promotions your school bully got in the hedge fund started by his uncle, decide what is yours and let go of the rest, often the good things in your life are lighter anyway. So there’s more room for them … to be demanding. “
Swift then talked about having a solid work ethic and how, at the end of the day, those who put in the most effort are the ones who find the most success.
“Never be ashamed to try. Lack of effort is a myth,” he told the stadium. “The people who wanted it the least were the ones I wanted to go out with and be friends with in high school. The people who want it the most are the ones I now hire to work for my company. “
Then Swift started talking about her own career and how being examined in the public eye helped shape the best parts of her career so far.
“As a person who started my very public career at the age of 15, he had a price. And that price was years of unsolicited advice. Being the youngest person in each room for over a decade meant that I was constantly receiving warnings from older members of the music industry, the media, interviewers, and executives. This advice was often presented as vague warnings, “he said. “It all focused on the idea that mistakes equate to failure and ultimately the loss of any opportunity for a happy or rewarding life. This has not been my experience. My experience has been that my mistakes led to the best things in my life. And feeling ashamed when wrapped up is part of the human experience. Get up again, dust off and see who still wants to hang out with you afterwards and laugh at you? That’s a gift. “
He urged the 2022 class to let go of perfectionism and accept the difficulties of the road, in a truly optimistic way from Swift.
NYU also did start-up exercises for the 2020 and 2021 classes, as its original ceremonies were postponed due to the pandemic.