The singer, 32, joked with Vogue a while ago, saying she really wanted to get an honorary doctorate because Ed Sheeran has one. Enter NYU to save the day!

Then, here is paging Dr. Taylor Swift! Taylor just received an honorary doctorate degree from New York University after giving the commencement speech, and she seems super excited about the whole thing— cap, gown, pre-speech jitters and all. Congrats.

Taylor received a Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa. Of course, everyone had a lot of questions about her degree and the fact she had apparently never donned a cap and gown before. What diplomas does she have? (Besides, ya know, the diploma of ultra-famous stardom.) Here’s what you need to know.

Did Taylor go to college?
Nope. Her career took off when she was around 15 and it was kinda hard to fit college into the mix then. Understandable.

Taylor did, however, go to high school at Hendersonville High School in Tennessee for two years before transferring to Aaron Academy. The transfer meant she was better able to work around her touring schedule with homeschooling. She graduated a year early. High school diploma.

What is an “honorary doctorate degree”?
An honorary degree is a degree—usually a doctorate like the one Tay just got—that’s given to someone who didn’t go to that school or didn’t complete a similar level of education required to receive the degree. (So, no, Taylor never went to or studied at NYU.) Basically, the school waives all the requirements needed to obtain a specific degree.

Why? It’s a way for an institution to honor the accomplishments and contributions an individual has made in a particular field. Like Taylor and the arts.

Wait, but why is she getting this degree?
Well, NYU has been a big Swiftie for a while now. The school’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music launched a course in January that was dedicated to Taylor’s business and writing practices. It also looked at how fandom, gender, and race come together in the music industry.

In her speech, Taylor cracked plenty of jokes (see above) but she also gave some really heartfelt words of encouragement to the class of 2022:
“You can’t carry all things, all grudges, all updates on your ex, all enviable promotions your school bully got at the hedge fund his uncle started. Decide what is yours to hold and let the rest go”

Learn to live alongside cringe. No matter how hard you try to avoid being cringe, you will look back on your life and cringe retrospectively. Cringe is unavoidable over a lifetime. Even the term “cringe” might someday be deemed “cringe.”

“Never be ashamed of trying. Effortlessness is a myth.”

“When difficult things happen to us, we will recover, we will learn from them, we will grow stronger because of them.”


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