Watch Robert De Niro Tell NYU Grads They’re Screwed In Brilliant Commencement Speech

Commencement speeches in the United States are probably the most fascinating and diverse facet of what [generally] is a woefully flawed education system.

Colleges fork out thousands for celebrities and notable graduates to wisely wax lyrical over the meaning of a diploma and a college education, and it’s approached in so many different ways: David Foster Wallace‘s iconic and flawless ‘This Is Water commencement speech argued for a liberal arts educated graduate’s ability to navigate the banality of everyday life; JK Rowling delivered truths about failure; Maya Rudolph channelled Bey in a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner; while Matthew McConaughey recently told University of Houston graduates that “unbelievable is the stupidest word in the dictionary” among 12 other absolutely fucking useless points about life (read and weep over here). 

And then there was Robert De Niro, who told the 2015 graduating class of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts: “You’re fucked.”

Argue with the man, you can not. 

“When you feel that you can’t fight it, you just go for it. When it comes to the arts, passion should always trump common sense. Yeah you’re fucked. The good news is, that’s not a bad place to start,” De Niro said, “A new door is opening for you, a door to a lifetime of rejection. It’s inevitable. It’s what graduates call the real world.”

“There will be times when your best isn’t good enough. There can be many reasons for this, but as long as you give your best, it’s okay. Did you get straight A’s in school? If you did – good for you, congratulations. But in the real world, you’ll never get straight A’s again.” 

Watch Robert De Niro’s commencement speech below.