The Most Important Thing In Every Human Being's Life Is Who Their Commencement Speaker Was

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Remember your high school prom?  Remember how important that was?  Remember how there were times that you literally panicked just planning for it? 

There was that moment when you realized people were starting to lock down prom dates and you hadn't done it and visions of going solo scared the living crap out of you. 

There was the moment when you realized you were being put in charge of booking the limo which meant you had to organize the money, find out who's in and who's out, call the company and deal with a gruff Italian gentleman who wasn't in the mood.

As a guy I don't know what it was like to shop for a prom dress but based on everything I know (and what MTV has told me), it sounds like a walking nightmare of epic proportions.  Remember that (girls)?

Then there was the moment when the school announced the theme for the Prom, "1,001 Arabian Nights" and you and your friends were like WTF?  That doesn't encapsulate us.  That's not who we are.  And you all got together in the Dairy Queen parking lot and we're like "We so need to protest.  Right?  This CANNOT happen."  And you all agreed the next day you'd all march on the Principal's office and demand that the theme be changed to Beverly Hills 13210 or whatever your zip code was.  Cause that show totally represented your life.  You were Dylan.  And Dylan was you.  And all the Arabian Nights in the world couldn't possibly explain how important you were.

You were really worked out about all of that (especially the prom theme...take a Xanax, buddy). But now you're 27.  And thinking back on all of that, you can't help but laugh.  You can't help but realize how absurd all of the drama and emotion and insanity you poured into this seemingly-important-yet-ultimately-meaningless event if your life. 

At the time, it seemed the Prom Night would define you for the rest of your life.  Now, you shake your head thinking about how overblown and insignificant it all really was.  How your life is made up of millions of tiny pieces and Prom Night was just one of them.  There were so many more influential and meaningful days ahead that you barely even remember much of what happened that day anyway. 

And to think of how seriously you took yourself...good lord, what a maroon.  It was just high school, guy.  At the time it felt like more, like you were the protagonist in a rock song and nothing was gonna stop you from achieving your dreams.  And now, you realize you were simply a protagonist in a Nickelback song.  Which, I suppose, sounded a lot deeper at 17 than it does at 27.

Anyway that's my roundabout opinion on the whole SU Commencement Brouhaha.

Here's my problem with what I see here.  Every student in this video is wrong.  All of them.  Every single one of them.  For Dimon, against Dimon, doesn't matter.

The professors get it.  Professor Liz Liddy, who's message can be boiled down to "Everybody needs to chill the f*** out" specifically nails it.

From the "Against" side, there's Ryan Hickey who says the decision makes him "feel like it is kind-of breaching the sanctity of the University."

On the "For" side, there's Naresh Vissa, who says of the SU 2010 commencement speaker, "Ten years from now, quite frankly, a lot of students are gonna look back and they're gonna look at this graduation speaker and say that 'I'm really glad that he spoke to us.'"

I appreciate your honest and forthright opinions, sirs, but to both of you I say "No."

Ten years from now, you will not remember your commencement speaker's speech.

Ten years from now, you will not remember anything anyone said at commencement.

Ten years from now the only thing you will remember is walking in the procession, throwing your cap in the air and eating potato salad with your family at a nearby restaurant shortly-thereafter.

That's about it.

And as for the sanctity of Syracuse University...I wouldn't worry too much about that.  Adrienne Garcia is absolutely right...Jamie Dimon is speaking because J.P. Morgan Chase gave SU a crapton of money. This is part of the thank you for that.  SU needs money to survive.  Those who provide it get thanked.  And those who provide $30M get thanks a lot more than those who provide $200K.

I'm not saying I agree with the selection of Dimon and that I think he's a great guy.  I don't know the first thing about him.  If anything, I'm more likely to side with the people against Dimon, at least intellectually. (Plus, I'm a self-loathing School of Management grad).  But not this specific cause. 

Because ultimately...it doesn't matter.  Replacing him with Richard Branson or Al Gore or Carrot Top as your speaker won't matter either.  The world will not be a better place for it either way. 

You want to make a difference in the world?  Go do it.  It's the Mike Williams situation all over again.  You can be a victim that whines and tries to explain yourself or you can just go and make things happen.  Impactful things.  Not "changing a commencement speaker" type things but "revolutionizing the way people think about the environment" or "changing the way people provide aid to one another" type things.

"I think I would go [to commencement] because some of my family members are flying in and I don't really want to waste their time because, as much as I want to hold to my morals, I'd rather respect my family more."

DUDE. Chill.  The.  F.  Out.  No one wants to fly in from wherever they're flying in from to listen to you complain for three days about banking.

Your morals will be there come Monday, ready to save the world.  I promise.  Jamie Dimon will not have any effect on them whatsoever.  I swear. 

Just have some potato salad and hug a lot of people...you'll feel so much better.

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