Stay awkward, Minneapolis

Don’t be afraid to be weird just because you’re a college graduate.

Bradford Palk

Hey, seniors: WeâÄôre graduating, and I donâÄôt want to give you a typical graduation speech. But I will get the cliché intro out of the way: Wow, time has flown by. WeâÄôre all such âÄî heavy on the sarcasm here âÄî different people. Maybe one of you will be the next Mark Zuckerberg. Wait. YouâÄôre all already better than Zuckerberg, because you all have degrees.

WeâÄôve met a lot people, from the bros who peacock outside of frat houses to that hot opera chick. Who knew IâÄôd love opera?

WeâÄôve seen and experienced a lot, too. A stadium was built. Spring Jam âÄô09 riots happened. And there was that football sex scandal with the cellphone footage and the smiling player.

But who have you really become? The condescending hipster in me wants to know if youâÄôre just a pawn in âÄútheirâÄù machine. Are you an individual? Or are you just some tagalong jagweed who steals beer and wears Ed Hardy apparel?

Trust me, lots of them exist.

I guess I just want us all to be awkward. I want us all to be strange, to be weird, to be different. ItâÄôs more fun that way.

When you go against the grain, you push and, more importantly, permanently stretch the boundary of social norms. Like an eternal yoga position, society must stay limber and fit.

So onward and weird-ward. LetâÄôs be pioneers of the strange! All social norms start with that awkward point. Like having a mullet. Or being a shirtless dude at a sports game. Someone had the stones to start those god-awful trends. ThatâÄôs more than IâÄôve ever done.

Some of you donâÄôt need to be told this. But a lot of us need to be reminded that itâÄôs OK to diverge from the rest of the flock. That itâÄôs OK to stray off the beaten path.

That itâÄôs OK to tell a girl you just met about the time you misdiagnosed yourself with testicular cancer because you wore compression shorts for too long.

Or at least thatâÄôs the world I hope to live in.