Described as the commencement speech she would give if ever asked to deliver one, this charming, whimsical music video found its origins in a 1997 Chicago Tribune column by Mary Schmich. Two years later, Australian film director Baz Luhrmann (who would go on to direct the Academy Award-winning Moulin Rouge) set Schmich's musings, virtually word for word, to music. Rumored--falsely--to have been an MIT commencement address given by the author Kurt Vonnegut, the Luhrmann production reached #1 in the UK and Ireland, and became a cult hit in the United States.


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  • Donnica

    Hi. In the future I'm going to keep here links to their sites. But I do not worry about the sites where my link is removed. So if you do not want to see a mountain of links, simply delete this message. After 2 weeks, I will come back and check.

  • mi_stallion2000


  • LRT

    This version on this YouTube video is CUT OFF! around 5 minutes.. the original song/video which Baz Luhrmann created BASED ON MARY SCHMICH's essay in the Chicago Tribune op-ed page is available in its full version (which runs about 8 minutes) in numerous other versions - here's a better one:

  • Jacqueline Howard

    THE OLDER I GET THE LESS I KNOW.Death of a loved one is a great, yet painful, teacher.You never know anyone completely. Love is the most important thing in life.Your spiritual life and taking care of yourself are lifesavers.I can learn from anyone, regardless of backround, social standing, or lifestyle.No one is better than another. There are so many truths to be learned in life. Jacqui

  • FelicityJ

    "The only attitude is gratitude"

  • Sister Andrea Weidner

    For over 50 yrs. I was a high school teacher. It seems to me that the most important thing a person can do for him/herself is to be a person of integrity.

  • David Krieger

    In a commencement speech, I would say that each of us is a miracle, entirely unique. Everything about us is a miracle. There is no adequate explanation for life. We do not know where we come from before conception, nor where we go after death. Life itself is a miraculous adventure, and we should seek to enjoy and appreciate every moment of it. Then I would make the point: How is it possible that one miracle can kill another? Violence, killing and war make no sense. Those who promote war should be shunned rather than elevated to high office.

  • Beau's mom

    The question, "If you could write a commencement speech, what would you say?" I couldn't, thank goodness for the eloquence of Mary Schmich's "Sunscreen". But if I might share a commencement, written by a soldier who left his family with this: A whole lot can come from nothing, I was living proof. You're doing good if you got yourself four walls and a roof. If you give up the time, your soul will play the sone, Do what you feel is right, and don't do nobody wrong. Don't pay no mind to critics-they'll say what they'll say. You need to care more about your work, than you do about your pay. Be careful where you tread 'cause you'll always leave some tracks. But if you take some wrong roads, ain't no sense in looking back. Watch the name you live up to, you might have to live it down. 'Cause once you start to fly, it's hard to see the ground. Don't let anyone tell you who you are or what you'll be, be your own man and live your life accordingly. Anything worth doing-is worth doing right. Including causing trouble and picking out your fights. There are only two things for sure-one is life, and then there's death. Make your dreams come true...And YOU decide the rest. Semper Fi-Beau Robbins 7/14/82~7/26/03

  • me

    NO! NO! NO! It's not "BAZ LUHRMANN'S" Everybody's Free (to Wear Sunscreen)! It's MARY SCHMICH'S! SHE WROTE IT! I don't know her, but it's a classic example of the writer getting screwed again. Writers need more respect! Please adjust your headline.

  • David Handelman

    Beautifully said and true. It is truly a shame that more people will not have a chance to view this video. I would like to put this on my web for all to see. Thank you,

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  • View the complete lyrics of "Everybody's Free (to Wear Sunscreen)."
  • If you were to write a commencement address, what would you say? Leave a comment on this video with your ideas.
  • Check out these essays from The Global Youth Fund's "This I Believe" international essay project.

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