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John Waters's Graduation Speech to Class of 2015

This Commencement Speech Will Light a Fire Under Your Ass

At the end of May, writer and director John Waters gave a commencement speech to the Rhode Island School of Design's graduating class of 2015, and now we can all enjoy it. John Waters first became famous for what are revered as some of the dirtiest films of all time — like Pink Flamingos and the original Hairspray movie. Now, he's using his experiences and infamous style to give advice about the creative industry. Watch the speech in full above, snack on the best highlights below, and then dive into even more inspiring celebrity graduation speeches.

  • "Hopefully, you have been taught never to fear rejection in the workplace. Remember, a 'no' is free. Ask for the world, and pay no mind if you're initially turned down."
  • "A career in the arts is like a hitchhiking trip: all you need is one person to say, 'Get in,' and off you go. And then the confidence begins."
  • "Today may be the end of your juvenile delinquency, but it should also be the first day of your new adult disobedience."
  • "Humor is always the best defense and weapon. If you can make an idiot laugh, they'll at least pause and listen before they do something stupid . . . to you."
  • "I'm sorry to report there's no such thing as karma. So many of my talented great friends are dead, and so many fools that I've met and loathed are still alive. It's not fair, and it never will be."
  • "We've all been dealt a hand. Deal with it."
  • "Go out in the world, and f*ck it up beautifully."
  • "It's time to get busy. It's your turn to cause trouble. But this time, in the real world."
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