Natalie Portman gave inspiring words of advice to graduating Harvard students on Wednesday, recounting her own student life at the university and the challenges she experienced and lessons she learned by being an actress. The Academy Award winner was a keynote speaker at the Harvard’s Class Day, People reports. During her remarks, she revealed that being invited to speak during the ceremony was an honor and one of the most exciting things she’s ever been asked to do.
Portman’s speech focused mostly on explaining how she confronted her own doubts when she went to Harvard, the Huffington Post reported. The 33-year-old actress shared that when entered Harvard in 1999, it was after the release of "Star Wars: Episode 1," a movie she appeared in. She was worried that people would see her as unworthy and assume she got in because she was famous. “This is how others viewed me and how I viewed myself," Portman said.
The actress said that she also had some ‘dark moments’ as a Harvard student, saying there were occasions when she felt overwhelmed with what she had to do on days when she felt she could barely get out of the bed in the morning. But her time in Harvard has paid off: Portman graduated in 2003 with a degree in psychology and learned some valuable lessons that helped her realize her love for making movies.
Portman also encouraged the graduating students to accept their lack of knowledge and use it as an asset, reports E! News. Portman admits she was "woefully unprepared" to execute the dance moves required for the role of a troubled ballerina in "The Black Swan." "The point is, if I had known my own limitations, I never would have taken the risk. And the risk led to one of my greatest personal and professional achievements." She won the Oscar for Best Actress for the role.
Portman recently attended the Cannes Film Festival in France for the premiere of her directorial debut "A Tale of Love and Darkness," a period film she co-wrote and starred in.