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Maria Shriver to USC grads: Focus on now, not what's next

Maria Shriver, award-winning television journalist, best-selling author and former first lady of California, had some unexpected advice for her daughter and other graduates of USC’s Annenberg School of Communication last week: Hit the pause button.

"I’m asking you to learn how to pause because I really believe that the state of our communication is out of control,” Shriver said during her commencement address Friday, which USC posted online Wednesday.

With her children, including graduate Katherine, and estranged husband Arnold Schwarzenegger in the audience, Shriver lamented the loss of the moment:

"It's as if what we're doing right now, at this precise moment, doesn't even exist," Shriver said. "The only thing everybody seems to be focused on is the next thing. What are we going to be doing next. Well, I got caught up in that for a really long time. A really long time. So much so that I could never really enjoy what I was doing, because I was always so obsessed about what I was going to be doing.

"Pausing today and throughout your entire life allows you take a breath," Shriver said in a 20-minute speech that ended with a standing ovation. “As everybody else is running around out there like a lunatic, I dare you to try to do the opposite."

She urged graduates headed for the world of public relations and journalism to resist the urge to repeat rumors or report what they heard or read without corroborating it: "It's up to you to decide if you want to pass on garbage or you want to check the facts."

And don't take a job with an outfit you don't respect, she said.

"Who you work for is as important as what you do," Shriver said.

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-- Bettina Boxall

 
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