ARIZONA NEWS

Jill Biden tells Mesa college graduates to tune out people who tell them what they ‘can’t’ do

May 11, 2024, 12:30 PM | Updated: May 13, 2024, 6:10 am

First lady Jill Biden applauds students after speaking at the Mesa Community College commencement S...

First lady Jill Biden applauds students after speaking at the Mesa Community College commencement Saturday, May 11, 2024, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Jill Biden on Saturday told Arizona community college graduates to tune out the people who like to tell them what they can’t do.

The first lady shared with graduates of Mesa Community College how her high school guidance counselor told her she wasn’t college material and shouldn’t waste her time going. She didn’t listen and got her college degree.

Then she got three more, including two master’s degrees and, at age 55, a doctorate in educational leadership. She went to school at night while raising three children and working full-time.

The first lady has been a teacher for more than 30 years, and since 2009 has taught English and writing at Northern Virginia Community College.

She encouraged the graduates to “drown out” the voices that say “can’t” and to remember the challenges they overcame to get to wear a cap and gown on Saturday.

“You’ve met life’s challenges before. And you know that on the other side of ‘can’t’ lies the beauty and joy and surprise of life, the adventure that changes us for the better,” she said, according to excerpts of her prepared remarks shared with The Associated Press. “And you are ready for it.”

Biden said the graduates should remember that they are strong and resilient, and shouldn’t be afraid to face the unknown.

“Expect anything and everything. Take the risks that scare you. Don’t hesitate when you see the chance for joy. Share your stories, too. Be kinder. Love harder. Dream bigger. Find your adventure and keep your courage to say ‘yes.,'” she said.

To the Class of 2024, she said, “Let the world feel your thunder!” The college mascot is the thunderbird and ”feel the thunder” is the school slogan.

“And the next time that someone tells you that you ‘can’t,’ you’re going to say, ‘Oh yeah?…Watch me,’” Biden said.

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Jill Biden tells Mesa college graduates to tune out people who tell them what they ‘can’t’ do