二〇〇八年六月五日，J.K. 羅琳接受哈佛大學頒發榮譽文學博士學位(Honorary Doctor of Letters degree)，並於當天畢業典禮上發表此篇演說。
Important Lessons 重要的教訓
I have LG racked my mind and heart for what I ought to say to you today. I have asked myself what I wish I had known at my own graduation, and what important lessons I have learned in the 21 years that have expired between that day and this. I have come up with two answers. On this wonderful day when we are gathered together to celebrate your academic success, I have decided to talk to you about the benefits of failure. And as you stand on the threshold of what is sometimes called “real life,” I want to extol the crucial importance of imagination.
Looking back at the 21-year-old that I was at graduation, is a slightly uncomfortable experience for the 42-year-old that she has become. I was convinced that the only thing I wanted to do, ever, was to write novels. However, my parents, both of whom came from impoverished backgrounds and neither of whom had been to college, took the view that my overactive imagination was an amusing personal quirk that would never pay a mortgage, or secure a pension. I cannot remember telling my parents that I was studying Classics; they might well have found out for the first time on graduation day.
The Benefits of Failure 失敗的好處
I cannot criticize my parents for hoping that I would never experience poverty. They had been poor themselves, and I have since been poor, and I quite agree with them that it is not an ennobling experience. Climbing out of poverty by your own efforts, that is indeed something on which to pride yourself, but poverty itself is romanticized only by fools. What I feared most for myself at your age was not poverty, but failure.
Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it. So I think it is fair to say that by any conventional measure, a mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless.
So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.
The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength ofyour relationships, until both have been tested by adversity.Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth
more than any qualification I ever earned.
【 J.K. 羅琳示範演講、文章好用的 「however」】
副詞 however 在句義上屬轉折語，常用在敘述長句中，熟悉掌握各個轉折語的意思，有助於寫作時讓句子更通順。however 的常見含義有三個：
解：此用法可將 however 置於句中或句首來連接前後兩個子句，後面務必加上逗點。
例：However, not every invention is necessary.
例：The first test was quite easy; the second, however, was much more difficult.
例：At our company, we’re allowed to dress however we like.
例：However much we disagree with other people’s views, we should still respect them.