My alma mater is Ramapo College of New Jersey, which also happens to be where YouTube star Grace Helbig went to college. During my time there (which I loved), I always dreamed of having Grace come speak at my graduation ceremony.
As you can tell by the photo, it actually happened.
If you don’t know who Grace Helbig is, here’s a summary of her accomplishments:
- Creator and former star of Daily Grace, a Webby and IAWTV award-winning YouTube series
- Current star of Webby Award-winning YouTube series “it’sGrace” with over 3 million subscribers (as of 5/19/15)
- Former host of Attack of the Show! on G4
- Author of a New York Times bestselling book, Grace’s Guide: The Art of Pretending to Be a Grown-Up
- Star of the nighttime talk show The Grace Helbig Show on E!
- Star of film Camp Takota, which peaked in the iTunes Top 10 feature films
- Star of travel series HeyUSA for Conde Nast
- Frequent guest of Comedy Channel’s @midnight
- Appeared on Chelsea Lately
- Sold out live stand-up comedy tour #NoFilter
She’s also listed on
- Variety’s Top 10 Comics to Watch
- Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business
- Forbes 30 Under 30
- Hollywood Reporter’s Silicon Beach Power 25
- Time Magazine’s Best Twitter feeds
- Buzzfeed’s 11 Awesome Up-And-Coming Funny LadiesYou Should Know
I can’t take much credit for making her Commencement speech become a reality. Apparently, there was a survey (or something) for students to vote for a commencement speaker, but I didn’t know about it. Luckily, I wasn’t the only Grace Helbig fan in my graduating class. When the announcement was officially made, I was ecstatic.
But then I was already prepping myself for disappointment. After some re-connecting with my campus connections, it sounded like Grace wasn’t going to be available for a meet-and-greet.
Wow, was I wrong. (And wow this photo is such a spoiler.)
But let’s back up a bit. Emma and I were waiting in line for the processional with the rest of the business students for what seemed like forever. Students from the other schools were passing up our line to go meet up with their lines, so I saw a bunch of students I knew walk by.
But then I noticed that a group of college administrators were walking by in a group. And then there was Grace! She was vlogging and walking (which you can see her video below), and then she was gone. Oh no, I missed my opportunity to say hi.
A few minutes later, she walked by again. She wasn’t vlogging this time, and I noticed that over students were saying hi to her as she passed. So this was it. This was my chance.
When she came by us, I waved frantically like a dork and said “Hi Grace!” She then said “Hi! Congratulations!” with a look of Do I know you? Oh no, now she thinks I’m a weirdo.
And then, the speech, which you can watch below. It was everything I expected it to be and more.
That air horn.
Despite writing the speech a little last-minute, Grace definitely had everyone’s attention. She definitely spoke some words of wisdom and experience. And she didn’t hold back. It felt genuine and it was 100% Grace Helbig. I couldn’t believe that Grace was actually speaking at my Commencement. I know a lot of fans out there were probably watching the webcast of a college they didn’t go to just to see her speak.
But this was my college. I felt so special.
One of the reasons I finally felt inspired to start blogging and vlogging again was because of Grace. I had realized that fear was holding me back from pursuing my hobby. The fear of nasty YouTube comments. The fear of wasting time. The fear of pursuing something that wouldn’t become anything. The fear of rejection.
But I digress. Back to my story here…
Then the usual Commencement things took place, and after another two hours or so, it was over. People began to file out of the stadium, and I noticed that the administrators were also walking off stage in our direction. Wait, Grace was with them, but where was she?
Then I realized that she was walking toward the direction of my parents’ section (because that’s where her mom was also sitting). What a coincidence!
A small group of students were beginning to group around her, but most of the other graduates must have not noticed or expected her to come down for this impromptu meet-and-greet.
My mom was already standing right behind Grace, camera ready. Oh no, my mom’s gonna scare Grace away.
It was now my opportunity to speak to her. I gave her a hug. Was I allowed to do that?
Then I probably mumbled a bunch of gibberish. I think I mentioned how I was also a YouTuber, and thanked her for speaking at the ceremony and for being so inspiring.
My mom took our photo and then I awkwardly handed her my business card. That was either the best idea ever or the worst idea ever.
Then that was it. Oh wait, my mom wanted to get another photo and be in it this time and Grace was like, “Oh wait, where’s your son?” I walked back up and said, “I’m sorry. That’s my mom. Haha.”
Then this photo was taken.
And then that was it. That’s how I met Grace Helbig.
Maybe giving her the business card with my Twitter handle was a good idea, because I was the only tweet she favorited that night. Yay!
So Grace, if you’re reading this, first thanks for reading it all. It was pretty lengthy. Second, THANK YOU again for speaking at my graduation! And three, if you’re ever in the NYC area, you’re totally free to visit where I work: social media agency Likeable Media. We have couches, food, wi-fi, and really cool people. It’s like college, but in a Midtown office. We could totally hang out. Cool!
Are you a Grace Helbig fan? Who are your other favorite YouTubers? Let me know in the comments below!