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Special Sneak Preview – Gen Y Credit Union Contest Commencement Speeches

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It’s already been several weeks since we finished collecting applications for NerdWallet’s Gen Y Credit Union Contest. Are you going absolutely bonkers waiting to hear the results? We certainly are, but our judges are still hard at work sorting through applications, and we want them to have all the time they need. However, we can already tell you that credit unions from all over the country wrote fabulous commencement speeches for the class of 2013. Here are just a few of the highlights.

Cooperative Federal Credit Union inspired the Class of 2013 to think for themselves and find out who they really are:

“Graduates, as you go forth into a world where…truth is too often obscured, I wish you the vision to see through the hype, make the most of whatever you have, and know how to tell the difference between who you are and what you own. With those gifts, you’re sure to find happiness.”

Full speech:

SPIRE Federal Credit Union urged us to remember our priorities:

“It’s tempting to take out the full amount of funds that you’re offered. We know. Oh, boy, is it tempting. Your tuition is $2,500 for the semester, and your school and the feds are offering to lend you $12,000. Wow! $12,000! That means you’ve got $9,500 for a new iPad, crazy nights out, maybe a new pair of Hudson classic bootcuts …Just don’t do it. Seriously. Long after those Hudsons have been cropped into lawnmowing shorts, you’ll have that debt hanging over your head. For years. Decades, maybe. When you’re 35, are you even going to remember those Hudsons?”

Full speech:

Dakotaland Federal Credit Union reminded us that people are more important than money:

“The most important thing to develop: relationships. Never underestimate the power you have to connect with others; in building relationships, you will lay the foundation for success in your personal and professional life.”

Full speech:

Deer Valley Credit Union said there’s no time like the present:

“Don’t forget you are a citizen of this world and how you move forward in life impacts those around you. Each of you should wake up each morning inspired by the world!”

Full speech:

IH Mississippi Valley Credit Union quoted one of the best movies of all time:

“Today may feel like the end, and in a way, it is. But it’s the start of so much more. In the words of the great philosopher, Ferris Bueller, life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Oooooooooooh, yeaaaaaaaah.

Full speech:

Louisiana Federal Credit Union shared a touching, personal story of determination and resilience, and helped us view failure in a new light:

“Wait until the only thing you are eating is spaghetti and water from tap is the only thing you have to drink. I don’t mean spaghetti like grandma makes with sauce, meat, and her secret ingredient; I mean cold spaghetti noodles with a hint of sauce drizzled on top. Now, I am not saying you will all be forced to live in a box with no electricity, eating cold spaghetti, and washing your clothes in the tub, but I am saying this is the reality of the real world. It is tough and you will fail. That sounds pessimistic, but it is true. I know everyone always told you if you put your mind to it, anything is possible, but that is just not how things work. You can’t wish and poof, partner at a law firm. You have to fail and you have to struggle, but failure is a good thing. If you never fail in life, then you’ve lived too safely, and by default that makes you the biggest failure in the room.”

Full speech:

Securityplus Federal Credit Union reflected on Gen Y’s totally legit tech skills (and warned of the pitfalls):

“We’re flat out brilliant with utilizing technology to our advantage. But with the ease of technology comes the demand for instant gratification. We want things, we want more of them and we want them now.”

Full speech:

Corning Credit Union encouraged Gen Y to channel their inner rock-star ninja to build their credit report:

“If you apply the same ninja-like self-discipline to your financial situation that you’ve applied to your studies, your credit report will make you look like a rock star.”

Full speech:

Patelco Credit Union reminded us that saving is for everyone, even bajillionaires:

“No matter how much money you make, you will always be cash poor if you don’t have savings.”

Full speech:

And, Valley Isle Community Federal Credit Union reminded us that taking financial advice from Young Money (and other extravagant hip-hop superstars) will only take you so far.

“Think of what will benefit you in the long run. Yeah, yeah, yeah, YOLO this, YOLO that, You Only Live Once: that’s the motto. You are young, you deserve to have fun and do what you want when you want, but seriously, what will you do if you live your entire life based off of the lyrics in a Young Money song?”

Full speech:

More contest details are coming soon. Thank you so much to everyone who participated! #YOLO