You have been hearing all of your life that this occasion is a big step into what is called the real world. "What," you may ask, "is that real world all about?" "What is this new life?" Ladies and gentlemen of the class of 2005 at Emory, real life is not college; real life is not high school. Here is a secret that no one has told you: Real life is junior high.
The world that you're about to enter is filled with junior high adolescent pettiness, pubescent rivalries, the insecurities of 13-year-olds, and the false bravado of 14-year-olds. 40 years from now, I guarantee it: You will still make a silly mistake every day. You will have temper tantrums and your feelings will be hurt for some trivial sleight. You'll say something dumb at the wrong time. And you will wonder at least once a week, "Will I ever grow up?" You can change that. In your pursuit of your passions, always be young. In your relationship with others, always be grown-up. Set a standard, and stay faithful to it. - Tom Brokaw (May 15, 2005 Emory University Commencement)