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Mindy Kaling at Dartmouth University to deliver the 2018 commencement address. (Twitter)
Mindy Kaling at Dartmouth University to deliver the 2018 commencement address. (Twitter)

Commencement speech

Mindy Kaling gives salient — and hilarious — advice to grads at her alma mater

By WITW Staff on June 12, 2018

Our queen Mindy Kaling delivered the commencement address at Dartmouth University, her alma mater, on Sunday, and she had many pieces of salient advice for the graduating students — chief among which was to buy a plunger (“Trust me on this: Don’t wait until you need a plunger to buy a plunger”).

On a slightly more serious note, as HuffPost reports, Kaling addressed the men in the audience, offering them a valuable dating tip.

“When you go on dates, act as if every woman you’re talking to is a reporter for an online publication that you are scared of,” she said. “One shouldn’t need the threat of public exposure and scorn to treat women well, but if that’s what it’s gonna take, fine. Date like everyone’s watching, because we are.”

Kaling also had wise words for female students. “Hey girls, we need to do a better job of supporting each other,” she said. “I know that I am guilty of it, too. We live in a world where it seems like there’s only room for one of us at the table. So when another woman shows up, we think, ‘Oh my God, she’s going to take the one woman spot! That was supposed to be mine!’”

“Wouldn’t it be better if we worked together to dismantle a system that makes us feel like there’s limited room for us?” she asked. “Because when women work together, we can accomplish anything. Even stealing the world’s most expensive diamond necklace from the Met Gala, like in Ocean’s 8, a movie starring me, which opens in theaters June 8th. And to that end, women, don’t be ashamed to toot your own horn like I just did.”

Closing out her speech, Kaling advised the graduating students to embrace the unexpected paths their lives may take as they venture into the post-college world. She shared a personal story about coming home with her infant daughter Katherine, who was born in December of last year. Kaling is a single mother, and she recalled feeling somewhat daunted during the first days with her new baby.

“I remember bringing her home and being in my house with her for the first time and thinking, ‘Huh. According to movies and TV, this is traditionally the time when my mother and spouse are supposed to be here, sharing this experience with me,’” Kaling said. “And I looked around, and I had neither. And for a moment, it was kind of scary. Like, ‘Can I do this by myself?’”

“That feeling went away, because the reality is, I’m not doing it by myself,” Kaling added. “I’m surrounded by family and friends who love and support me. And the joy I feel from being with my daughter Katherine eclipses anything from any crazy checklist.”

Watch Kaling’s full address below. 


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