At Harvard, Natalie Portman acknowledges what many of us feel: impostor …

28 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

At Harvard, Natalie Portman acknowledges what many of us feel: impostor syndrome.

Many of us have felt, at some point, that we haven’t truly earned our accomplishments. Natalie Portman advised graduating Harvard seniors Wednesday to use their inexperience to their advantage, saying she has learned that taking calculated risks can lead to life-changing rewards.

returned to her alma mater, Harvard University, Wednesday to deliver a powerful commencement speech in which the now Academy Award-toting actress explained how ignorance became her biggest asset throughout her journey to stardom.It’s that time of year, when celebrities make their way to college campuses across the land to deliver commencement speeches that will ignite YouTube and get passed around Facebook walls for months to come (oh, and students get their degrees somewhere in there, as well). Sometimes, your insecurities and your inexperience may lead you to embrace other people’s expectations, standards or values, but you can harness that inexperience to carve out your own path,” she said on Thursday, pointing to her directorial debut, A Tale of Love and Darkness, which just premiered at Cannes Film Festival. “My complete ignorance to my own limitations looked like confidence and got me into the director’s chair. The Academy Award-winning actress, speaking at Harvard College’s Class Day, cited her work in “Black Swan” as an example of a time she didn’t know her own limitations — and it paid off.

Portman told the graduating class that when she first came to Harvard as a freshman in 1999, she had just wrapped “Star Wars: Episode I” and was insecure about students thinking she’d just ridden on the coattails of fame through the Harvard gates. Once there, I had to figure it all out, and my belief that I could handle these things, contrary to all evidence of my ability to do so, was half the battle.

Driven by these insecurities, I decided that I was going to find something to do at Harvard that was serious and meaningful that would change the world and make it a better place. When Portman was finally able to combat these feelings of self-doubt, there’d be more roadblocks to overcome: heartbreak, “taking birth control that’s now off the market due to its depressive side effects” — and much later, after graduating from Harvard with a degree in psychology, she’d have to learn to accept that theater was her calling and not some “frivolous” pursuit. I had reclaimed my reason.” As for refrigerator-magnet-y maxims, Portman urged that the graduates should capitalize on their optimism. “You can never be the best. By the time Portman got to “Black Swan,” she said that “the experience was completely [her own].” Portman had vowed to only sign onto projects that she could glean meaningful things from.

When I got to my graduation, sitting where you sit today, after four years of trying to get excited about something else, I admitted to myself that I couldn’t wait to go back and make more films. Any makeup tips?” Portman’s happy ending at Harvard wasn’t always clear. “It’s easy now to romanticize my time here, but I had some very difficult times here too. Upon her win, former professors and mentors described her as a diligent and intelligent student. “It was very clear when she was a student that she is a very determined person and capable of focused effort over a sustained period,” Stephen M. Kosslyn, a former Harvard psychology professor and former dean of social sciences, told the school paper. “She is now demonstrating the results of that determination and focus.” Alan M. Dershowitz, who said Portman was in his neuropsychology and the law class, told the Crimson that “she was a terrific student” who earned an A+ on a paper — “the highest grade in the class,” the newspaper noted.

So the very inexperience that in college had made me insecure … now was making me actually take risks I didn’t even realize were risks.” “Achievement is wonderful when you know why you’re doing it,” she concluded. “When you don’t know, it can be a terrible trap. … 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.” Abigail Baird, her mentor at Harvard, told the New York Times: “I’ve taught at Harvard, Dartmouth and Vassar, and I’ve had the privilege of teaching a lot of very bright kids.

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