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Shonda Rhimes Grad Speech: Dreams ‘Can Suck It’

Don’t be fooled by the Emmy nods that she’s got: She’s still Shonda from the block.

Really, we shouldn’t be at all surprised that TV-writing maven Shonda Rhimes, the brains behind Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, gave an epic graduation speech over the weekend at Dartmouth, her alma mater. But listening to the class of ’91 alum speak candidly, openly and, of course, with great humor about her past and present, should definitely earn her the commencement equivalent of one of those gold statuettes.

Here are nine parts of the speech that prove she’s still keeping it real:

She repeatedly said the word “poop,” as in, she was so nervous to address the crowd she might “Pass out, die, poop.”

She called being a dreamer “crap.” “Ditch the dream and be a doer, not a dreamer. Maybe you know exactly what it is you dream of being, or maybe you’re paralyzed because you have no idea what your passion is. The truth is, it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to know. You just have to keep moving forward.”

She said to get off your butt. “You don’t have a job? Get one. Any job. Don’t sit at home waiting for the magical opportunity. Who are you? Prince William? No. Get a job. Go to work. Do something until you can do something else.”

She wanted to be Toni Morrison as an undergrad. “Years later, I had dinner with Toni Morrison. All she wanted to talk about was Grey’s Anatomy.”

She was crazy hung over at her graduation. “And the reason I’d been so drunk the night before, the reason I’d done upside down margarita shots at Bones Gate was because I knew that after graduation, I was going to take off my cap and gown, my parents were going to pack my stuff in the car and I was going to go home and probably never come back to Hanover again.”

She warns the real world is hard. “Tomorrow is going to be the worst day ever for you. But don’t be an asshole. … Find a cause you love. It’s OK to pick just one. You are going to need to spend a lot of time out in the real world trying to figure out how to stop feeling like a lost loser, so one cause is good. Devote some time every week to it.”

And, FYI, she hates all those hashtags. “A hashtag is not helping. #yesallwomen #takebackthenight #notallmen #bringbackourgirls #StopPretendingHashtagsAreTheSameAsDoingSomething.”

She says forget “having it all.” “Whenever you see me somewhere succeeding in one area of my life, that almost certainly means I am failing in another area of my life. If I am killing it on a Scandal script for work, I am probably missing bath and story time at home. If I am at home sewing my kids’ Halloween costumes, I’m probably blowing off a rewrite I was supposed to turn in.”

But that’s totally fine. “You can still wake up one day and find yourself living a life you never even imagined dreaming of. My dreams did not come true. But I worked really hard. And I ended up building an empire out of my imagination. So my dreams? Can suck it.”