"Don’t get stuck following your dream," says former U.S. Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings

CTU Commencement - Margaret Spellings and Dr. Kristy SmithOn Saturday, June 14, 2013, former U.S. Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings, addressed Colorado Technical University (CTU) graduates in Denver, Colo., offering her answer to the question on the minds of many recent college graduates: Now what?

Spellings urged graduates to be non-traditional, sharing these five pieces of wisdom. Click here to read Spellings’ complete commencement speech.

  1. Look forward as well as inward. You may be focused on your next step after graduation, but remember to pause. Silence distractions. Reflect and appreciate what you’ve done.
  2. Embrace lifelong learning. Innovation will revolutionize the job market many times in your career. Continue to learn, develop and grow your knowledge and skills.
  3. Challenge tradition. The greatest breakthroughs are often the result of unconventional thinking. Remove the limits and think beyond what you know and see.
  4. Don’t get stuck following your dream. How many times have you heard a wildly successful person say, “I never dreamed this could happen”? Have a vision, but don’t allow it to limit your possibilities.
  5. Be open to unexpected opportunities. For Spellings, passion found her. She never imagined that her career would unfold the way it did, but by being receptive to opportunities she realized a new, unexpected dream.

Spellings concluded her speech with a final lesson and assignment for graduates: help others get an education.

You have a duty to help those who have yet to attain an education. Mentor, inspire, support and lead others along the path you’ve taken. Be a service to your nation. In Spellings’ final words on the assignment, “There is no deadline. It expires when you do.”

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Image credit: Former U.S. Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings pictured with University Vice President of Education, Dr. Kristy Smith just before Colorado Technical University's Commencement Ceremony in Denver.