Ruby Karp
March 24, 2013 4:00 am

There are so many reasons to thank Amy Poehler: Smart Girls at the Party, Leslie Knope,  the UCB and being a woman who supports other women. There’s also every time she appeared on SNL as Hilary Clinton and all the other characters she brought to life, and bringing us Broad City. And that’s just the stuff we’ve heard and read about. Okay, fine: Amy and Tina hosting the Golden Globes was awesome, too.

But we still have six more reasons to say thank you to Amy. It’s all in the advice she gave to the graduating class of Harvard in May of 2011. Amy is really smart – not just book smart, real smart. And she knows how to give a commencement speech. “Just because you’re wicked smart doesn’t mean you’re better than me.” Because after all, this is an audience filled with uber-brainiacs.

1. Play Nice With Others

“All I can tell you today is what I’ve learned, what I’ve discovered as a person in this world and that is this: You can’t do it alone. As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you. Spend a lot of time with them and it will change your life.” So Amy, thank you for this.

2. There Are Some Rules to Live By

Amy is, among other things, an improviser, and she tells the Harvard kids the following: “I learned some rules that I try to apply still today. Listen. Say yes. Live in the moment. Make sure you play with people who have your back.” Thank you, Amy.

3. You’re Not Alone

“You never know what is around the corner unless you peek. Hold someone’s hand while you do it. You will feel less scared.” I love this part of her speech. And it connects to the part before, of finding people that will have your back. If you can find them or even just the one person who will hold your hand, you can do anything.

4. Don’t Over-Promise

“Limit Your Always and Your Nevers.” I do this a lot. “I always blah blah blah” or “I will never blah blah blah.” And really? I should only use “never” when I mean it, not just all the time. Thank you, Amy.

5. Oh Hey, Mom.

“Would it kill you to be nicer to your parents?” Um, yeah. She’s right. So be nicer to your parents. Thank you, Amy.

6. You’re Not Alone, Part Two.

Amy comes back to being a team player in her final note to the Harvard Class. Why? Because as she points out in the earlier part of her speech, it’s pretty great to be around people you enjoy, people you can learn from, people you can trust. Amy believes that you don’t have to do everything by yourself and I love this. I just love it, it makes me feel like I can breathe a little. “When you feel scared hold someone’s hand and look into their eyes. And when you feel brave do the same thing. You are all here because you are smart and you are brave. And if you add kindness and the ability to change a tire you almost make up the perfect person.”

Amy says a lot more in this speech, and also, some pretty funny stuff. Check it out and let me know what you think!

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