The Grammy-winning singer and songwriter received a Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa, from the Manhattan-based university Wednesday, delivering the commencement speech with a timely joke.
"The main reason I'm here is because I have a song called '22,'" she said as she thanked the university, praised the graduates and expressed gratitude for her parents.
NYU called the Yankee Stadium occasion "an unprecedented 'doubleheader' event" as it celebrated this year's class of graduates as well as students from the 2020 and 2021 classes whose ceremonies were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Hi, I'm Taylor," Swift opened her commencement speech. "Last time I was in a stadium this size, I was dancing in heels and wearing a glittery leotard. This outfit is much more comfortable."
Swift, entered the stadium in the same procession as the rest of the students wearing doctoral regalia and a red lip while throwing up peace signs and waving to audience members before taking her spot with the rest of the commencement's platform party.
The singer addressed the class of 2022 on behalf of other honorary degree recipients. Lifelong disability rights advocate Judith Heumann, who received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, addressed the classes of 2020 and 2021 in a separate ceremony.
Swift's honorary degree has been a long time coming, a desire she first expressed while answering silly, rapid-fire questions for a 2016 interview with Vogue, noting that her musician pal Ed Sheeran had received one from England's University Campus Suffolk.
"I feel like he looks down on me 'cause I don't have one," she joked at the time.
But now, her degree is official.
"I'd like to thank NYU for making me, technically, on paper at least, a doctor," said Swift, who stopped formal schooling after 10th grade, depending on homeschooling for the rest of her education. "Not the type of doctor you would want around in case of an emergency. Unless your specific emergency was that you desperately needed to hear a song with a catchy hook."
Swift, who has an NYU course taught by Rolling Stone's Brittany Spanos dedicated to studying the singer's rhyme and reason, continued her speech giving her audience "life hacks," acknowledging that hacks are different from giving "unsolicited advice." Some of Swift's suggestions included having a "catch and release" state of mind, embracing the idea of "cringe," and to "never be ashamed of trying."
Swift said that growing up in the music industry meant that people were constantly giving her advice with the motive of helping the star lead a life of pop star perfection. She said her adviser's ideology centered the idea that "mistakes equal failure," but she learned that her mistakes have actually been the "best things" in life.
"Getting canceled on the internet and nearly losing my career gave me an excellent knowledge of all the types of wine," Swift quipped.
Swift concluded her speech with words of encouragement, using her new degree as a co-sign of her qualifications.
"Hard things will happen to us, we will recover, we will learn from it. We will grow more resilient because of it," Swift said. "As long as we are fortunate enough to be breathing, we will breathe in, breathe through, breathe deep, (and) breathe out — I'm a doctor now so I know how breathing works."
Contributing: Hannah Yasharoff, Amy Haneline
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Taylor Swift NYU speech: Singer gives 'life hacks' to class of 2022