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Hoda Kotb's Tulane commencement speech offers 10 life lessons for grads

She's using her struggles to inspire the next generation of hustlers.
/ Source: TODAY

Here's something you might not know about TODAY's own Hoda Kotb: She got rejected by 27 news directors while driving all over the country trying to find a job after her college graduation. 27!

Clearly, it all worked out for Hoda (and us) in the end — and it's a message she shared Saturday with the Tulane University class of 2016 as the graduating class' commencement speaker.

"Hoda Kotb embodies the spirit of Tulane. Her journey has been remarkable," said Tulane President Michael Fitts.

As a former New Orleans resident (she spent six years as a local news anchor before making the jump to network television), Hoda was just as thrilled to be back in the Big Easy.

"You might be sad today because you’re leaving this great city, but I promise you’ll be back," she began. And went on to crush her speech and inspire a standing ovation from the class of 2016.

Here are some of the highlights.

1. You don’t need everybody to like you, you just need one.

After her aforementioned post-grad rejection tour, Hoda recalls meeting the news manager who took a chance on her... and changed her life forever.

2. Do not forget the people who helped you.

When Hoda got her first opportunity to fly solo behind the anchor desk (and it was a legendary fail), that same hiring manager gave her a second chance. They remain in touch to this day.

3. Life can change in an instant.

Hoda was sailing along and thriving in her career when a breast cancer diagnosis brought everything into perspective.

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4. The best advice you may ever get in your life may come from a complete stranger.

While recovering from her cancer surgery, Hoda sat next to a prying stranger on a plane who wouldn't stop asking her about her procedure. When she reluctantly told him, he said...

5. Don't hog your journey, it’s not just for you.

You can help others by sharing your journey — and honesty is therapeutic.

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6. "I learned that my life has margins and it’s to be valued and not wasted."

Breast cancer was a game-changer, Hoda said, and one that caused her to evaluate her relationships — and overhaul her personal life for the better.

7. If you survive anything in your life, who cares what it is, if you're still standing, you get four words: "You can’t scare me.'"

Hoda said her cancer scare gave her the courage she needed to ask for her job at TODAY.

8. You are the sum total of the five people you spend the most time with choose your friends wisely.

This one speaks for itself!

9. Don’t let anything hold you back.

Hoda points to an audience member who overcame extraordinary odds to be successful. Watch the speech for the full story.

10. New Orleans [or wherever you call home] is your house.

There was a Flo Rida song involved. Obviously.

And with a "geaux get ‘em," wisdom was served. Congrats to the Tulane class of 2016 ... and congrats to Hoda on a wonderful speech!

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