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'Good Luck Out There, Kids! You Will Need It!'

May 31, 2000

As college students don their caps and gowns in a ritual to signal their transition into the "real world," commencement speakers try to offer up a few pearls of wisdom. Some deliver an unabashed pep talk; others vainly attempt to peer into the future. A few talk about personal experiences and try to divine a life's lesson. Most try to persuade students to cling to their youthful dreams while they get whiplashed by life's hard realities. Here are a few excerpts.

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Cruz Bustamante, lieutenant governor of California, San Francisco State University, May 27, 2000

Pretend my mother is watching you. Right--not your mother. My mother. You see, your mother would worry about you taking risks, would want you to maybe get a job, a safe job near your home, and would be concerned that your feelings are hurt if you didn't always succeed. My mother doesn't care about that stuff.

My mother thinks that you should go for those things that you might not get. My mother thinks that you should go out and try to live a dream. My mother does get angry, however, if you don't take care of your mind and your body, so if you just pretend that my mother's watching you, then you'll get a chance to do most of what you want to do and none of what you shouldn't be doing.

Most important of all, remember who you are and where you came from. The world is going to try to make you into what it wants you to be. It will try to sanitize you, make you conform, make you like everyone else.

You are you. There will never be another, so say your name with pride.

It is your destiny to transform our diversity into a common ground we can all stand on to be one California.

California needs you. California needs you to be the best that you can be. You are the future leaders of California, so set your goals high, work hard, believe in yourself, value diversity, stay inspired, and you will transform the world around you.

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