Anne Patchett, writer and bookstore owner, used her commencement speaker gig at Sara Lawrence College in 2006 to ask the important question for college grads, and really, for everyone at a moment of transition: What now?
The speech was so well received that Patchett eventually released a book-length version of her ideas about what comes next when we stand at those conclusions, those transitions, those crossroads. The reflective nature of Patchett's work is readable and relevant for most anyone, and I found myself nodding in understanding as she shared her realization that ... I didn't become a writer until I worked at TGIFridays.
Holding a bachelor's of English and an MFA, Patchett speaks honestly and candidly about how, of all her journeys and classes and courses of study, ... none of them taught me the most important thing: how to be alone, how to stare ... I learned as much from waitressing as I did from teaching. I really appreciated Patchett's thoughtful reflection and insight, having long felt that the best education I ever received was the years I spent waiting tables in an Italian restaurant.
If you're interested in a few more details of the speech and book, Maria Popova at Brainpickings also has a post with some selections from Patchett's book-length version of her speech.