As if Taylor Swift’s multi-hyphenate abilities couldn’t grow any stronger, today she received an honorary doctorate of fine arts from New York University, imbuing her with all the powers of a Tisch student (their power is mostly mentioning Tisch). As an honoree, Swift donned one of those floppy little Henry VIII berets and a purple robe and delivered a commencement address to a stadium full of NYU graduates. In a speech that ran the length of 2.3 “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version)”s, Swift thanked her family for their support and told the grads, “Welcome to New York. It’s been waiting for you.” Swift then made a joke about these kinds of doctorates, saying she’s not “the type of doctor you would want around in the case of an emergency unless your specific emergency was that you desperately needed to hear a song with a catchy hook and an intensely cathartic bridge section. Or if your emergency was that you needed a person who can name over 50 breeds of cats in one minute.” Sadly, Swift didn’t spend the rest of the speech making good on that by just listing cats.
The crux of the speech came when Swift gave her “officially solicited” advice to the crowd of new grads. A lot of this was well-worded boilerplate: Learn to let things go, find the simple joys in life, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. The best advice of all is “Learn to live alongside cringe.” “No matter how hard you try to avoid being cringe, you will look back on your life and cringe retrospectively,” she advised. “Cringe is unavoidable over a lifetime. Even the term cringe might someday be deemed cringe.” As an example of how to live with your cringe, Swift revisited her tradwife aesthetic days: “I had a phase where, for the entirety of 2012, I dressed like a 1950s housewife. But you know what? I was having fun. Trends and phases are fun. Looking back and laughing is fun.”
Do you think she practiced the speech with Joe Alwyn? Do you think he gave notes? Do you think he laughed at the line “Getting canceled on the internet and nearly losing my career gave me an excellent knowledge of all the types of wine”? Because the Tayla Swiff leaped out.