I had the honor to be in the audience at President Obama’s Howard University Commencement Speech in Washington D.C. It was the first time in my life, that I heard the President of the United States speak live. Here’s what I learned:


1. Obama is an excellent orator who connects with his audience.

This was evident from the start of the speech, as he drew laughs when he named dorms  and popular eateries near Howard. He joked with students that “some of you were up late making sure your credits were in order.”


2. There is hope in our future

Obama is hopeful that the condition of the world can be better. He thinks the next generation must be committed to working towards this. He emphasized that we must be well-educated. We have to consider making change on an institutional level, becoming educated on a subject and having the ability to work effectively towards seeing changes take place on a large scale.


3. America is a better place today

Obama stressed, that if you could be born at any time in history, now would be the best time. Never before has there been such a great advancement in technology; that communication allows people to connect from all parts of the world. There are people in history who’ve made sacrifices that brought us to where we are today.


4. People are looking for leaders, this requires passion and strategy

Leaders must have passion, strategy, and the tools to truly make an impact. “Because of those who come before you, you have models to follow. You can work for a company, or start your own. You can go into politics, or run an organization that holds politicians accountable,” he said.


5. Millennials have a lot of opportunities and work to do

Beyond graduation, the millennial generation has an incredible opportunity to make an impact in the world. The kinds of footprints people can leave in various industries are many, ranging from professionals in medicine, engineering, and science to tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.