Congrats Grad, you scared, oblivious, little fucker…you did it! Caps off to you man, 4 years later (give or take) and you’ve finally walked the plank of the pirate ship that was college and off into the “real world” you go. Commencement season is upon us and universities all across the globe are sending their neophytes out to the job market to land a tuna fish of a first gig…alumni donations are soon to follow. I shook my Presidents hand this passed Friday after a 2 hour ceremony at my beloved alma mater, U of Miami. The basketball arena was flush with loved ones, eyes welling with pride over their offsprings graduation, as speakers and videos played congratulating the students on all their accomplishments. As always, a keynote speaker is given the floor to offer the kids some words of wisdom as they depart on their next step in the journey. Unfortunately, the wifi in the room was working too well, so naturally, most had their eyes glued to their LCD screens, rather than paying attention where attention was due. As always, the internet beat real life and I fear that my peers may have missed it…allow me to fill you in.
I have a feeling that unless the guest speaker is The Biebs, Barry O, or Harry Styles, it wouldn’t warrant the ears of the audience. Last year Miami passed the honor onto Jimmy Buffet, a perfect match as his island music is essentially the soundtrack of Miami. Upon hearing that this years sermon would be offered by Gillian Tett, the United States Managing Editor of the Financial Times, most tuned out. I guess her fame or lack there of wasn’t enough to entice the students to tune into her speech, which is pretty shitty considering how accomplished this woman is. First piece of advice leading up to your commencement: it’s not about the fame of the speaker it’s about their accomplishments and their credibility they have when it comes to the advice they can offer. Put your phone down for 20 minutes and listen! If your mother wasn’t crammed up in the nose bleeds I’m sure she’d smack you on the head for your negligence…you scared. Oblivious. Little. Fucker.
Gillian Tett is an anthropologist turned economist turned columnist who has seen much more of the great wide world than most of us will ever see. She spoke eloquently (in a cute little English accent) of her experiences with people and money and the commonality the two will always share. Her overarching message honed in on something called TRIBALISM, a term Websters describes as the act of being organized according to ones tribe or group, and thus the loyalty they show to it. She explained, through her anthropologic jargon of the detriment of living in these tribal ways. Moreover, how extreme tribalism and sticking to ones group will impede future success’s, for there is a FINITE amount of benefits one can draw from their own tribe, compared to the INFINITE possibilities that come with expanding beyond your boarders. It was an extremely relevant, shrewd, and profound speech that a majority of the students missed due to snapchat…pity really.
Tribalism is a term that dates back only decades but its a behavior that has been seen from the dawn of time. Plain and simple, we stick to our own. The best part of her speech was the fact that the ceremony itself bolstered all of her arguments to a tee. There was no assigned seating at my commencement, so students got to sit next to whomever they pleased…which is cool because we got to sit next to our friends but was unnerving when you saw who everyone was friends with. The president started calling the names as we handed in our phonetic spelling cards, and I laughed as I saw the tribes, rather than the friend groups receive their degrees. First went the Asians…Huang Xie, Chee Weng, and all of the Kims… it sounded like a bunch of pots and pans being thrown down a stair case (bing, bong, diiiing). Next went the summa cum lauds and the library creatures we all know, walking with so many tassels around their gown they looked like a damn furniture store. Then went myself and my fellow jewish fraternity brothers…yes even I stuck to my tribe. Then the black kids, the athletes, the GDI’s, and the Miami locals. One by one we walked in groups of a dozen. Tribalism! Right in front of our faces! Not good.
As we all step out into the post grad world, listen to the words of Gillian Tett, the no name Managing Editor (according to you) that you failed to give the time of day. In todays world, we have the communicative abilities to eliminate this tribe mentality, its a pipe dream for that to ever end though. The people who want to be successful however, they’ll take her advice. They’ll leave the confines of their collegiate bubble. They’ll make new friends but keep the old. They’ll throw themselves to the wolves, come back alive, but more importantly, come back with experiences and wisdom that will give them a substantial leg up on the competition. To my tribe, the jappy frat boys who lived their four years picking up chicks in the grove…lets try to deviate. Lets not flock to Murray Hill with our old sleep away camp friends. Lets not take the salary from the soul-consuming fortune five hundreds. Lets not! Your tribe is your support system, don’t get me wrong, but theres much more to life than what can be offered than when you just look to the inside. FIO (figure it out) guys…you scared. Oblivious. Little. Fuckers.