UC Berkeley Commencement

July 16, 2007
Firouzeh Baghchehsarai

More than 1,700 students graduated from the University of California, Berkeley today in the 117th Berkeley commencement. The ceremony was held at the Greek Theater on the Berkeley campus. At least 7,000 spectators attended this event, said the Berkeley Chancellor Stephanie Martin.

Among the graduating students were 67 Ph.D. candidates. Another 626 received master’s degrees. Students
received degrees in fields ranging from archeology to zoology.

Novelist and essayist Anne Lamott gave the commencement address. Lamott encourages students to follow their own dreams and to never be discouraged. “Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over
people and circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are,” she said.

Lamott did not graduate from college. She said she dropped out of Goucher College in Maryland to become a writer. Success didn’t come as easily or quickly as she expected. She worked six months as a clerk typist which she claimed was horrible. Then at 20, she worked as a magazine assistant editor. “That was the last real job I’ve ever had,” she said.

Then she began publishing her own material from which
she got much of what every graduate student dreams of:a higher status, respect, and even a bit of fame. As 15 years pass, she begins to make some money. She has been waiting for this success. “I was like a greyhound catching the mechanical rabbit she’d been chasing all her life,” she said.

“Only spirit feeds spirit, in the same way only your own blood type can sustain you,” she continued.

At 49, she realizes that one has to look inside themselves, and that the best jobs aren’t given to
just anybody. She stresses how much parents want their children to be happy, love the life they are living, and what becomes of them.

“ But the thing is that you don’t know if you’re going to live long enough to slow down, relax, and have fun, and discover the truth of your spiritual identity,” she said. To this day, Anne admits that she has no clue as to the truth of spirituality. Fact is, no one really does.

She says spirit is visible only when being kind to one another no matter what the circumstances are. Also, live life to the fullest and keep the good memories. “ Refuse to cooperate with anyone who is trying to shame you into hopping right back up onto the rat exercise wheel,” she said boldly.

But above all else, wear comfortable pants.

“Promise me that you’ll never wear pants that bind or tug or hurt, pants that have an opinion about how much you’ve just eaten,” she said.” The pants may be lying! There is way too much lying and scolding and going on politically right now without your pants getting in on the act, too.”

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License