John Krasinski Speech: Find Your People
Watch this famous John Krasinski Speech. Acclaimed actor, writer, and director John Krasinski, a Brown Class of 2001 graduate, delivers the Baccalaureate address to the University’s undergraduate Class of 2019 on Saturday afternoon in the Meeting House of the First Baptist Church in America. John Burke Krasinski is an American actor and filmmaker. Besides appearing in and making feature films, he is best known for his role as Jim Halpert on the NBC sitcom The Office. Enjoy our Speeches with big English subtitles and keep your English learning journey.
English Speeches also makes this content available for download
Download this Speech in PDF transcript and/or MP3 audio file:
John Krasinski Quote:
“Family comes first for me in every single way.” John Krasinski
John Krasinski full TRANSCRIPT:
“Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you. Great. Guys, this is insane. What is happening? Why am I up here? Truly. No, I’m dead serious, why am I up here? To be asked to come back to this place, to speak to a graduating class of an institution that truly meant the world to me and still is the leading aspect of my entire life and career, it is the cornerstone of my life and career, is an astonishing honor. So thank you for being here, I mean that. I really really do.
It is also an honor that I almost immediately regretted saying yes to. Because look at this. Look at this church. Look at these people. Supposedly there are more people on the green. They only just told me that. Yes. There’s people in Solomon? No, no engine 93? Okay. Nothing for Solomon. All right. I love you Solomon. Luckily a few days after I said yes, a rescue call was sent. I was to get on the phone with one of our phenomenal hosts of today’s incredible ceremony, the one that only Reverend Janet Cooper Nelson, is down here. Yep. Rockstar, put this all together. Her job was pretty simple, to harness any and all spiritual guidance. Reach out over that phone, metaphorically grabbed me by the hand and weighed me through the rough waters of sheer terror. The end result, she made things way worse.
Janet, I love you, but in attempting to give me advice and pointers on what I should say in my speech, she started referencing these indelible speeches from other people who had already spoken. Yeah. You want to know what you led off with? “I remember when Ruth Bader Ginsburg was here”. I don’t mind telling you I peed a little. I did. The class of 2002 had a Supreme court justice talk to them. Okay. And as I was checking my pants to see if they need to dry cleaning, I heard her say, or maybe the funniest moment had to be when the Dalai Lama was here, and I blacked out. I mean, full unconscious blacked out. Head hit the table out because let me be honest guys, the Dalai Lama spoke. Okay. I mean, he was the funniest? I can’t contend with the Lama on a bad day, but to know that he brought his A game. He had a tight 15 minute comedy set? No. No, thank you.
So I’d like to start here today by addressing the parents of the class of 2019. And to you, I would like to say I hear you. Don’t worry. I have already had the T-shirts made up. My kid just graduated from Brown and all I got was the dude from the office. Good. Glad you think that’s funny. That’s really funny. Let me tell you what’s really funny. The Notorious RBG, his holiness, they didn’t go to Brown, not smart enough. You know who did go to Brown? The dude from the office. It’s me. That’s ridiculous. It actually sounded awful just coming out.
And because of that I am specifically and acutely aware of just what an astounding honor it is to be here today. So to the graduates of the class of 2019 tomorrow, I say thank you. Thank you for letting me be here today. Truly thank you for letting me be a part of your day. This is your day and you are graduating tomorrow. How cray is that? Does anyone say cray anymore? Okay. I’m ancient. Who’s nervous? Let me see a show of hands of people in the … Really? A lot of outliers here. Well, I look forward to your world domination. I was terrified because all the people came up to me and said, the future belongs to you. Whoa. What! I am currently searching for an apartment trying to keep the number of roommates in single digit. Literally nothing belongs to me.
Take a deep breath. Let’s all take a breath. Wow, you actually did it. You’re going to be great. There are many sides to being nervous and a whole lot of them are wildly useful and for the ones that aren’t so useful, well, let me see if I can walk you through some of those. Believe it or not, they asked me to come up with the title of this speech. Yes. Just characterized, it says a speech and yes, they think it’s good enough to come up with a name. What’s so hard to understand? The name I came up with off the top of my head was, what do I know? Pretty good. And oddly enough, that line went from being some jokey device I was using to deflect my own fears of being up here to a genuine challenge to myself. What do I know that I can tell you guys about that could possibly illuminate the future that stands in front of you?
Well, I know that tomorrow you’ve all received a piece of paper that says you’ve gotten one of the best educations there is to get period. I also know that that education did not necessarily happen in the classroom. The funniest thing about me is my getting into Brown, I didn’t feel I deserve to get in. So I made it my mission to deserve to graduate. That was my thing. I came to Brown as a midyear. I don’t know if that program exists anymore, but yes, one person? Nope. Okay. It’s gotten smaller since I was here, but I was one of 32 kids that were not accepted in the fall with everyone else. Thanks. Anyway. But rather we came in alone, hungry and cold in January.
I remember immediately trying to find my place, to find a group, to find my people. There was a moment where I even thought I might try to play basketball here. Don’t laugh yet, don’t laugh yet. My brother Paul was actually the captain of the basketball team, so I had communicated with the coach a couple of times about potentially walking on, still no laughter, please. And it was January, so it was mid season. I walked up to the gym one day to meet with the coach. I opened the door as the door swung open, by the time it reached the end, and it was coming back, I went, no. Nope. These dudes were too big. They were too good and it was just after lunch and they were on their second practice. No, thank you. No, thank you.
So I turned around and walked straight through the campus toward my dorm. When something caught my eye. I saw a flyer for a sketch comedy group called Out of Bounds. Yes, you can all clap for them. That’s how big we were too. It’s funny because I think the flyer caught my eye because it was nailed to a tree. And I remember thinking like, “Whoa, I haven’t been at Brown very long, but protecting trees is kind of like one of your things”.
So I went in for the audition and my entire life changed. Nope, not because I got in, not because I started acting. It was through that group that I found my way into this community. It was through that group that I met my people and all of a sudden I was surrounded by the most inspiring peers. I mean, every single one of them seemed way smarter than me, way cooler than me, way more interesting. And one of the best decisions I made in my life was just to lean all the way in. Nope, not to acting. Are you kidding. I mean, I really wasn’t good enough to be here. I don’t know if you’re listening. These kids were amazing. Truly by the end of senior year, the only parts I had ever gotten were like arm guard number four or terrified hostage guest number two. Yeah, that’s right. When I was at Brown, we did die hard the musical. Yep. You guys really missed out. I can promise you that. My parents were right here. They’ll tell you, you missed out. They didn’t miss out. It was ridiculous. Okay. You still have your shirts that say, my kid went to Brown and all I got was diehard to musical. That seems harsh, but we’ll talk about it later.
No, I didn’t get to throw everything in acting, but I did throw everything I had into this unparalleled pool of brilliant people. People often ask me how I got into acting. The truth is I didn’t get into acting. I got into everything. Believe it or not. When I got to Brown, I really hadn’t listened to any music that wasn’t on the radio, seen any movie that wasn’t in the multiplex. One day I asked a small group of friends to each give me, one of their favorite movies, favorite albums, and they did, every single week for four years. Yeah. Cry. Okay, I’m back. It was the experience of my life. One of the most mind blowing, mind expanding experiences and no drugs were necessary.
It was without a doubt the beginning of everything. For the next four years I wanted to be a part of it all. I formed a new way of thinking, a new way of executing those thoughts. I leaped out of my comfort zone, then stayed there and then left again. I experienced firsthand the powerful shift in doing something out of love rather than out of necessity. I learned what it meant to believe. I took chances, I failed and I took more chances. So yes, in the classroom I received one of the greatest educations one can possibly get, true, but the piece of paper I got at graduation also represents that education. The piece of paper I got not only says where I was educated, but who I was educated with and it declares that I am a member of that community of people to be relied upon, to take risks, provoke thought, and to be committed participants in this world.
The piece of paper I got represented every facet of my experience and the piece of paper I got is the exact same piece of paper you’re going to get tomorrow. The piece of paper I got, I live my life every single day by, because when looking at this sense of nervous that you’re feeling now, ask yourself, what’s it based in? Is it based in the unknown? Because my question to you is up until now, how else have you approached each new tomorrow? And if your nerves are based in fear of failure, well, my question is up until now, how have you defined success because in this community, without the presence of financial gain, isn’t success simply defined as you’re just being onto something, taking an idea farther that it never been before? Why does it ever need to change? It doesn’t.
Or if your nerves are based on something bigger, a fear of something bigger. The world at large. Well, to that I do say yes, it’s true there are right. The future does indeed belong to you, but the abstract weight of responsibility to change it over night very much does not. Real change is organic. You’re the only responsibility you all have is to hold fast to everything that you have lived right here. To not conform. To realize that when you’re out there, you’ve done all this before, right in here. Remember fondly the discomfort you felt when you were asked to push yourself farther than you were ever. Sure. You could go.
In the wash of elation when you finally got there. Remember to be scared. You’ve been there, scared before. You’ll be scared again. Find more of your people. Lean all the way in. Take chances, fail big and take chances again, listen to music. Remember to believe in something and fall in love as many times as it takes. And remember before you do something special, just do something. The truth can almost seem too simple, but the simple truth is the program you ran here is the same program. Just run it again and again and again. That’s what I know. Thank you to this class, to this institution is my honor. Thank you.
John Krasinski Speech