Shonda Rhimes, the creator of Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy, and 1991 Dartmouth graduate, laid it all out on the table during her commencement speech at Dartmouth. Shonda admits that she is not one that favors public speaking, according to Women’s Health Magazine. She hates it, in fact. Rhimes firmly states that she is a TV writer, and likes to write things for other people to say.
However, Shonda Rhimes blew it out of the water with her incredible speech. Shonda held nothing back when it came to giving the Dartmouth graduates advice for their futures. Rhimes spoke of how most commencement speeches are flowery words about searching your heart, following your dreams, dream big, find yourself, find your dream and follow it. What does Shonda Rhimes say about that kind of speech? “I think it is crap,” Shonda said boldly, per Jezebel.com.
Rhimes tells the graduates that she believes a lot of people dream. Shonda goes on to say, “And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, engaged, powerful people, are busy doing,” per Jezebel.com. Shonda encouraged the graduates to ditch the dream and be a doer. Shonda says that although dreams are lovely, it is hard work that brings about change.
Shonda Rhimes also brings up hashtags and reminds the Dartmouth crowd that “hashtags are just hashtags. They don’t change anything.” Women’s Health Magazine reports Shonda as saying that “a hashtag doesn’t make you Dr. King. Volunteer some hours….Devote a slice of your energies towards making the world suck less every week.” A less suckish world. Sounds nice, Shonda. We like that.
Shonda Rhimes admits that she wanted to be the Nobel Prize winning author Toni Morrison. But, Toni Morrison already had that position filled. So, Shonda had to make her own place in the world. Shonda Rhimes had to be Shonda Rhimes. And it has paid off for her famously. Shonda actually met Toni Morrison per Women’s Health Magazine, and much to Shonda’s surprise, Toni Morrison talked nonstop about Grey’s Anatomy. Shonda had come full circle because of her own hard work.
This was a commencement speech to knock these kids into a dose of reality, for their own good. Shonda Rhimes gave incredibly strong, sound, excellent advice. Rhimes acknowledged that “yes, it is hard out there” after graduation. “But hard is relative.“
Shonda continues, “You just have to keep moving forward…seizing the next opportunity, staying open to trying something new. It doesn’t have to fit your vision of the perfect job, or the perfect life. Perfect is boring and dreams are not real. Just…do.”
In all honesty, Shonda Rhimes has given all of us something to consider, reflect upon, and draw from for ourselves regardless of our age. Thank you, Shonda Rhimes, for reminding us that we can all make a difference if we work hard enough.
Photo Credit: Forbes.com