To view the graduation ceremony in its entirety, please click here for the student broadcast from Saturday evening. The ceremony begins at 1:35, and Gray Malin’s commencement speech begins at 1:56.
Saturday night, in front of friends, family, and peers, the Class of 2018 officially graduated from The Episcopal School of Dallas. The excitement was palpable among the students, but before receiving their diplomas, they had the opportunity to hear from a very special commencement speaker.
Gray Malin ’04, fine arts photographer, New York Times bestseller, and ESD alum returned to campus to deliver a powerful speech on the importance of authenticity and following your dreams. He took the audience on a journey from his years as a photography student to his current success as a photographer, and exactly how ESD helped him get from point A to point B.
“I’m incredibly grateful for my success, which I know could not have been possible without the education I received here at ESD,” Malin said, before turning his attention to the class sitting before him and smiling. “I can see your eagerness, your fire, and your excitement to take flight and pursue a future you believe in.”
In order to use their ESD education to its fullest potential, he explained that they must find their true passion and follow it. Since that can seem like a bit of a daunting task, Malin gave our graduating seniors ten life tips for the next phase of their lives.
#1: Always be authentic.
A lot of people ask me about how I became successful and I always tell them it’s because I am an authentic person. Do not be afraid to be yourself. Each of you are amazing people and I urge you to always be authentic to who you are.
#2: Surround yourself with positive people.
Hang out with people you know have a good heart. Education and talent are important, but so is the kindness, patience, and positivity of a great colleague or great friend. Make an effort to maintain the friendships you have here. To this day, some of my closest friends in Los Angeles are the ones I met here at ESD.
#3: Do not overshare on social media.
This is self-explanatory, but it’s important to remember that what you post is a direct reflection of you, in and outside the classroom and workspace.
#4: Kill them with kindness.
Whenever you find yourself in a tricky or frustrating spot, it’s always better to take the high road and be a gentleman, or a gentlewoman. Be positive and keep focused on what is important, rather than getting sucked into the drama.
#5: Listen to your peers and your parents.
I’ve learned so much from others, especially when times are tough. Whenever I get in my own head too much, I seek the advice of others, especially my parents.
#6: Never be afraid to speak up or reach out.
Someone once told me you cannot wait for doors to open for you, you must knock and open them for yourself.
#7: Stay in control of your health.
Do not let the stress of the job or of school give you the excuse to lose control of your health. I personally have found I’ve done better in my career by staying active and keeping my confidence up through a healthy lifestyle.
#8: If it does not feel right, don’t do it.
Your instinct is a powerful tool. Always listen to it and have the courage to do what feels right.
#9: Travel and study abroad.
With college ahead of you, I encourage all of you to take advantage of a study abroad program. My time studying abroad during college was incredible, it opened my eyes to so many new things. It even helped shape the future of my career.
#10: Do not rush college.
If I could go back, I would have allowed myself more time to enjoy college rather than being in such a rush to graduate early. You should live the next four years of your life to the fullest and enjoy every moment you can.
Thank you Gray Malin ’04 for returning to your alma mater and delivering a speech full of wisdom and inspiration for not only the graduating students but the entire audience. And to the Class of 2018: we wish you all the best as you move forward to new places and experiences, and we can’t wait to see what life has in store for you all. Congratulations!