AnnaMarie Houlis

Thethe 2018 class at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism’s recently got the commencement ceremony of a lifetime when Oprah stepped up to the podium to spread her words of wisdom. She told the future writers, journalists, reporters and speakers that “there really is a solution” to all the problems in our world right now, and that solution is “each and every one of you.”

Sure, most graduating classes hear that. But Oprah's speech wasn't just another typical preach for hard work, health and happiness, even though she admitted that it wasn't easy trying to come up with new insights to share.

“I was a little intimidated coming here,” she said in her speech. “It’s hard trying to come up with something to share with you that you haven’t already heard. I don’t have any new lessons. But I often think that it’s not the new lessons so much as it is really learning the old ones again and again.”

Among her old lessons: eat breakfast, pay your bills on time, recycle, make your bed, say thank you and mean it, put your phone away at the dinner table, invest in a quality mattress... and go to work.

While these lessons are certainly nothing new, Oprah's emphasis on going to work isn't necessarily advice we've all been told before. We hear time and time again how important it is to find fulfillment in our work and to make an impact, but we're not so often told the sometimes not-so-pleasant truth: Work is not always going to be fulfilling. Some days are sure to be better than others, but it's important that we still go and make our talents known.

"Your job is not always going to fulfill you," she said. "There will be some days that you just might be bored. Other days, you may not feel like going to work at all — go anyway… The number one lesson I can offer you is… to become so skilled, so vigilant, so flat-out fantastic at what you do that your talent cannot be dismissed."

If there's anyone to prove the truth behind this lesson, it's Oprah. In 25 years, the American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer and philanthropist has never missed a day of work. She put out 4,561 episodes of the highest-rated daytime talk show, and her talent certainly cannot be dismissed.


AnnaMarie Houlis is a multimedia journalist and an adventure aficionado with a keen cultural curiosity and an affinity for solo travel. She's an editor by day and a travel blogger at by night.