WATCH: Natalie Portman Confesses Self-Doubt in Her Harvard Class Day Speech
Natalie Portman delivered the 2015 Harvard Class Day speech and boy, did she deliver.
The Harvard alumna returned to her alma mater to speak to graduates on Class Day, a celebration held annually on the day prior to commencement.
In a springy eggplant printed sundress, Portman revealed a less confident side of herself than we are accustomed to seeing on screen. The actress, who was cast in her first feature film at the age of 11, confessed that she felt inadequate to her peers upon arriving to Harvard for her freshman year.
I felt like there had been some mistake, that I wasn’t smart enough to be in this company, and that every time I opened my mouth I would have to prove that I wasn’t just a dumb actress.
Her stress multiplied as she advanced into sophomore year with the constant pressure to exhibit herself as “the best”. Upon realizing that creating an idealized version of herself for others was senseless, she pursued her own desires and flourished.
Sometimes your insecurities and your inexperience may lead you, too, to embrace other people’s expectations, standards, or values. But you can harness that inexperience to carve out your own path, one that is free of the burden of knowing how things are supposed to be, a path that is defined by its own particular set of reasons.
Portman emphasized remaining true to your intention and seeking the value in the process of a journey rather than quantifying its product.
If your reasons are your own, your path, even if it’s a strange and clumsy path, will be wholly yours, and you will control the rewards of what you do by making your internal life fulfilling.