Matthew McConaughey calls 2020 graduates 'a special class like no other' in online commencement speech

Raechal Shewfelt
Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

Matthew McConaughey, whose motto is “just keep livin,” has offered some take-it-as-it-comes life advice to the Class of 2020.

“Act today in ways that you will respect tomorrow,” McConaughey advised them in a speech he gave from his home that aired on Friday’s episode of Good Morning America. “From how you treat yourself to how you treat others in real life and online. And what I mean by online, just remember those comments you leave online, those thumbs-up or thumbs-down, they will outlive you. They are part of your resume of who you are.”

Matthew McConaughey dished out some life advice to the Class of 2020. (Photo: Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

The Dallas Buyers Club star is one of several celebs stepping up to deliver a commencement address to students whose final year in school was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic and didn’t have the opportunity to complete the academic year, much less celebrate with proms or cap and gown ceremonies. He described the graduates as “a special class like no other” that will be thrust into a strange world.

“You’ll be entering the workforce during a crisis, this one we’re in right now, and you will have no internships, no emergency ride-alongs, no auditions, no warm-ups. No G League before the NBA, no friendly matches with no score to keep,” McConaughey said. “Yeah. You’re going to be in the ring on the starting five on day one, live. Now, I know that’s not how you planned it, but it is how it turned out and how it is. So I say to you: Stay focused in your tunnel vision and embrace the unique position that you’re in. And believe and know that you can do it.”

He had some tough words for them, too.

“Life’s hard, even without a damn pandemic,” he said. “You realize that now and you’re going to enjoy your life a whole lot more later.”

McConaughey told them to be unafraid of failure and to let their reach exceed their grasp.

Before he began his speech, McConaughey spoke for a moment about his belief of how the health crisis has affected the country and the world.

“It gave humanity a unified purpose, it gave us as Americans a unified purpose,” he said. “And in the last month or so a false divide has been sort of created by some partisan politics and all of a sudden the narrative became, if you wanted to work, well you’re obviously on the far right, if you want to stay home, you’re obviously on the far left. If you want to wear a mask, you’re on the left, if you don’t, you’re on the right. And that’s all false. It’s untrue.”

McConaughey said he wanted to share a public service announcement to address the situation.

“In America right now our purpose is not an us versus them politically partisan fight, our purpose right now is to beat the virus together and that’s the PSA,” he said. “It’s about us, that’s how we’ll do it, it’s about us, as in the U.S.A. So let’s stick together through this.”

For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC’s and WHO’s resource guides. 

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