Cornell Law School Andy Bernard The Office

It has been a Mockingbird tradition to highlight worthy graduation speeches amidst the vast sea of snoozers. As the spring commencement season approaches, I want to point out that Ed Helms, the actor who played Andy Bernard on The Office, will be giving a speech at Cornell University’s graduation on May 24. This is noteworthy because Andy Bernard, the sycophantic airhead with anger-management issues, always brags about how he went to Cornell (’93). “Ever heard of it?”

Helm’s upcoming speech is bound to go at least semi-viral just by his showing up at Cornell. But it’s even more likely to go viral if his speech is anything like the one he gave last year at Knox College. His address isn’t exactly on the same par as the one Stephen Colbert gave at Knox, but who can live up to Colbert? Admittedly Helms teeters more toward the motivational good-advice spectrum than I prefer, but much of what he says about fear is worthwhile and empathetic to say the least. I also think comedians are just about the best choice for these addresses that are so often unbearable.

You can’t shake [fear] off. When you fail at the thing you love, it isn’t on the outside of you like dirt of spilled mayonnaise. It’s inside of you. It’s in your molecules. … So long as your desire to explore is greater than your desire to not screw up, you’re on the right track. A life oriented toward discovery is infinitely more rewarding than a life oriented toward not blowing it.