My Commencement Remarks: “Be wrong as often as you are right and pivot often.”

2019 Commencement remarks at Cary Academy, NC, May 2019
  • to embrace the discomfort of acting through 8th grade simulations of Watergate and elections (Teacher Name).
  • for teaching us to learn that team work and community matter more than winning matches (many coaches)
  • for teaching us to write critically with the power of “Although” (Teacher Name),
  • for teaching us to push our limits by memorizing every animal vocabulary word in Spanish (Teacher Name)
  • for teaching us to aim high and widen our horizons more than we initially planned (Teacher Name)
  • major in biology at college
  • become a science teacher in a challenging middle school or high school — inspired by the teachers I had here.
  • return to North Carolina and perhaps get involved in local government like mayor or school board
  • you can’t connect the dots looking forward.
  • Whatever path you have in mind for yourself now — real talk — very likely it’s wrong. Let me underscore that. You will very likely pivot away from the path you envision for yourself today.
  • Set yourself free from the expectations you have for yourself.
  • Release the expectations your parents have for you — today is the expiration date on blaming your parents.
  • Reject the expectations society or your friends have for what you ought to do, who you ought to become.
  • what you study
  • who you befriend
  • how you spend your time
  • how you treat other people…and yourself



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Holly May

Holly May

Head of People & Operations @ Datavant - rebooting what it means to be a People person