Oprah Winfrey used her platform at the recent 2013 Harvard graduation to talk politics–touching upon gun control and immigration topics–and social media, urging her audience to go out into the real world rather than hiding behind a computer despite the fact that Harvard is the birthplace of Facebook.
The talk show host and media mogul also spoke about her own failures in an effort to encourage the graduates to find their own path and stay on it so that it may be used as a reason to get back up.
“When you inevitably struggle and find yourself stuck in a hole, that is the story that will get you out. I want you to remember this: There is no such thing as failure,” she said. “Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.”
Winfrey says she was invited to speak at the graduation last year at a bad time, when her network OWN was still new and struggling to get off the ground; it had already been deemed a failure by many, and she was at a low point in her life. She says she took time to reflect on her choices and made the decision to turn things around on her terms.
Winfrey also spoke about her thoughts on gun control–namely, that the country needs to introduce stronger background checks–and on immigration, saying people who are in the country illegally should have more options on their way to becoming citizens.
Perhaps what resonated most with the group was Winfrey’s statement on social media, when she urged them to speak to people face to face rather than relying on technology as a sole means of communication.
“Even though this is the college where Facebook was born, my hope is that you will have the courage to go out and have conversations with people you disagree with,” she said.