Arianna Huffington of Huffington Post Delivers Graduation Commencement Speech at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY

Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington’s advice to Sarah Lawrence College graduates at this year’s commencement ceremony

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When addressing the SLC grads, Huffington didn’t shy away from the grim picture facing the class. She noted that we live in “a world in which 70 percent of people in this country think we’re on the wrong track; in which 25 million people are unemployed or underemployed; and in which, for the first time, total outstanding student loan debt will be higher than total credit card debt — over a trillion dollars. The percentage of young adults moving back with mom and dad is 34 percent.” Yikes. Talk about things you don’t want to think about when you’re scanning the want ads looking for your first big break! (Although the blunt reality sounds better coming from her than most. When talking about the economy, for example, she said, “I have a feeling sometimes, for example, that if Lehman Brothers was Lehman Brothers and Sisters, it might still be around today.” I just love that.)

But — and here’s what separates ol’ pessimistic me from heavy-hitters like Huffington — she was able to instill some hope. She did this by, of all things, talking about a failed romantic relationship. “I desperately wanted to have kids and he wanted to have cats,” she said. “So, I did something that I was at the time terrified to do, I left him. I left this man I was very much in love with, and because I didn’t trust myself to leave him and stay in London, I left him and moved to New York. The rest of my life — my children, my books, the Huffington Post, the fact that I’m standing here speaking to you on your commencement day — would not have happened if this man had married me. So, my whole life happened because a man refused to marry me. So, remember that, okay? In life, the things that go wrong are often the very things that lead to other things going right.”

I hope to keep that in mind next time my deadlines approach, none of my sources are calling me back, and the layouts are piling up on my desk.

Any advice you'd like to give to the class of 2011? Share it below...

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Marisa LaScala

Marisa LaScala
Elmsford, NY

Associate Editor Marisa LaScala joined Westchester magazine in 2003, and ever since she's blown every paycheck at the Greenburgh Multiplex. She also staunchly defends Richard Kelly, doesn't mind spoiling the endings of trashy movies you're curious about but don't want to pay to see, wishes the Hold Steady would come back and rock out Westchester, misses Arrested Development more than anyone can imagine, and still watches cartoons and Saturday Night Live. You can find more of her cultural criticism at, where she is a staff writer.



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