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Neil Gaiman’s University of the Arts commencement speech in 2012 was one of the best ever. And if you were not lucky enough to be one of the people who graduated that year to be able to hear him talk, don’t worry, we’ve got the video for you right here.
For those of you who don’t know who Neil Gaiman is, he is the man behind the comic book series The Sandman and such novels as Stardust, The Graveyard Book and Coraline. He also wrote scripts for the episodes of Doctor Who, The Simpsons, Babylon 5 and other TV shows. This is why his commencement speech should be particularly interesting for those who hope to build a successful career in arts.
Interestingly enough Neil himself never graduated from a university or college and wasn’t expecting to ever be able to give a Commencement Speech. But he knows first-hand how hard it is to start a career.
How at first you have no idea what you’re doing and how it is so difficult to actually do what you want to do. How you keep on making mistakes you thought you would never make. How it can be extremely stressful to deal with failure and discouragement. How you don’t get paid as much as you hoped you would. And finally how when the success finally comes, it’s not one bit less stressful, because you just sit there and expect it all to be over any second.
“Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make good art”, were Neil’s closing words. If you think about it, a great bit of advice not only for arts majors but for everyone who is trying to figure out what they want to do in life and how they are going to achieve it.