The actress, who graduated from the Ohio school in 1994, was the keynote speaker at the university’s commencement over the weekend. Garner reminded students to live in the moment during her speech.
“At some point, you will realize there is no finish line to cross. There is no moment when you’re supposed to be happy. While you wait for those moments, while you wait for the perfect job, MCAT score, the engagement ring, your life is happening — and isn’t that enough?” she asked.
"If you’re lucky, your life will be 65 percent happy, and that’s ‘fresh’ on Rotten Tomatoes," she joked.
Garner added: “Happiness is your own responsibility, so attack it.”
The star, who was awarded an honorary doctorate at the event, went on to share her top eight life tips.
- “Don’t walk down the Grand Canyon to see what it looks like from the bottom. It’s great from the top – you should do that. But when you get to the bottom, it’s just a big hill, and it’s a pain in the a-- to climb back up.”
- “Don’t smoke and don’t vape. We know, vaping smells like maple syrup or pineapple or cotton candy, whatever it is. But now that you’re going to be adulting, it’s not cute – just don’t do it.”
- “I’m going to say this because everyone says it, but you won’t listen because nobody does: Nothing looks better in your 50s than sunscreen in your 20s.”
- “When it comes to Halloween costumes, go funny over sexy. Why would you dress like a flirty nurse when you could be a mailbox?”
- “Mixed signals are not mixed signals – they’re a no.”
- “Impose self-discipline around three things: Have a book on your bedside table at all times – and read it, obviously. Be in charge of your consumption of social media. And foster a sense of humor about yourselves because otherwise, you run the risk of being boring.”
- “If you’re a woman and – pardon me for being binary for just a second. The stage has been set. The world is yours to grab. Go out and get it, girl.”
- “Finally, stay close to your friends from college. You’ve just spent four years hanging out with them. That history is invaluable. Work friends, you talk to them about work. Lovers, you talk to them about love and dinner reservations. But friends from college, you can talk to them about everything and you can do nothing with them and still be happy. My friends from Denison mean the world to me, have gotten me through everything possible. And without them, I wouldn’t know any Republicans.”
You can catch Garner’s full speech around the one-hour mark.