The day that Swifties around the world, across the universe, and through space and time have waited for has finally arrived. They can officially call the woman—Taylor Alison Swift—whose music has mended their hearts, dried their tears, and uplifted their souls, a Doctor. (It’s me. I’m Swifties.) Or at least, an honorary doctor.
On Wednesday, Swift received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from New York University and delivered a more than 23-minute commencement address to the school’s graduating class of 2022—an event that provided her ample opportunity to keep bringing up her very popular, very good, very fun song, “22.”
“Hi I’m Taylor,” she began. “I’m…90% sure the main reason I’m here is because I have a song called ‘22.’”
She took plenty of digs at herself, referenced a few of her other songs, and told the graduates she can never complain again about not having a “normal” college experience—since they completed college during a global pandemic in which they likely “had to pass like a thousand COVID tests” in addition to their coursework.
“The stadium erupted into cheers every time she was shown on camera,” Brittany Spanos, a writer at Rolling Stone and the professor (and creator) of NYU’s Taylor Swift class, told Jezebel. Spanos, who graduated from NYU eight years ago, said Swift’s speech was funny, moving, and very personal. “She touched on a lot of the same themes that we emphasized in the class: perfection, cringe, her passion for writing. I hope my students noticed!”
Most notably, Swift talked about “cringe,” emphasizing that no matter what, you’re eventually going to look back on your life and cringe about the things you wore, said, or did. But, she said, that should never stop you from pursuing whatever you want, and it especially should never stop you from getting excited about the things you are into.
“Looking back and laughing is fun,” she said. “And while we’re talking about things that make us squirm but really shouldn’t, I’d like to say that I’m a big advocate for not hiding your enthusiasm for things.”
My personal Lord and Savior continued on to say:
“It seems to me that there is a false stigma around eagerness in our culture of ‘unbothered ambivalence.’ This outlook perpetuates the idea that it’s not cool to ‘want it.’ That people who don’t try hard are fundamentally more chic than people who do. And I wouldn’t know because I have been a lot of things but I’ve never been an expert on ‘chic.’ But I’m the one who’s up here so you have to listen to me when I say this: Never be ashamed of trying. Effortlessness is a myth. The people who wanted it the least were the ones I wanted to date and be friends with in high school. The people who want it most are the people I now hire to work for my company.”
Swift ended her speech with a nod to the same song that she suspects got her an invitation in the first place: “We’re doing this together,” she said. “So let’s just keep dancing like we’re…the class of 22.”
Cut to Swifties everywhere with tears in their eyes and Red’s infamous track six dancing in their hearts. Oh, and also cut to the graduating class of 2022, I guess. Congratulations on your big achievement! Tonight is finally the night you can forget about the deadlines!
Mostly, congrats to Dr. Swift. And above all else, congratulations to us Swifties. Now that this is over, a rerecording announcement should be right around the corner.