Jim Cramer to the Class of 2018: 'It is okay to fail, but it is not okay to quit'

CNBC's Jim Cramer delivers the 2018 commencement address at Bucknell University.
Emily Paine / Bucknell University

On Sunday, CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer delivered a commencement speech to students at Bucknell University, urging the 2018 graduating class to push past failure in order to achieve success.

"There are two lessons that I learned from my life that I want you to know without having to suffer through them," he told the students. "First lesson, it is okay to fail, but it is not okay to quit."

Cramer told the graduating seniors that they have more physical and mental strength than they know, and that it is important for them to not feel defeated by any challenges they face.

As a 1977 magna cum laude graduate from Harvard University, he spoke about being denied his diploma for a controversial article he had written during his senior year as head of the student newspaper, The Crimson.

CNBC's Jim Cramer delivers the 2018 commencement address at Bucknell University.
Emily Paine / Bucknell University

Rather than allowing his setback to stop him, Cramer said he drove home with his parents and immediately started applying to jobs in order to make his journalism dreams a reality. He said he received rejection letters from 48 newspapers, and was told by his parents that he needed to seek a "real job" instead of a journalism career.

"Pops didn't even believe that being a writer was a profession," he said. "We didn't have much and he wanted me to get an honest job."

'Swallow that pride'

After his father told him that he'd have to start paying that October, Cramer moved to Washington, D.C. to stay rent-free with an aunt. It was there where he was recommended for a job at a local publication by a friend.

Shortly after starting that job, Cramer got a call for a reporter position in Tallahassee, Florida. In that job, he was one of the first reporters to cover the Ted Bundy killings at Florida State University.

His coverage of Bundy helped him to build his credibility as a crime reporter. Eventually, Cramer says he was called to work at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, a publication that had once rejected the future CNBC host.

While he was working in his dream field, Cramer told the students that he soon found himself in a low spot where he had very little money — and was even sleeping in his car.

"Living in my car took a toll on me, but I believed in myself to accomplish anything," said the 63-year-old.

Putting his pride to the side, Cramer said he reached out to his colleagues from The Crimson and told them about his situation.

"It was in failure that I got success," he said. "Rather than disgust and snickering, I received an outpouring of support from my classmates."

The co-founder of TheStreet, Inc. says his classmates allowed him to crash at their homes while he went on job interviews for new positions.

"Second lesson," he told the students, "your classmates are your safety net."

Cramer challenged the students to not forget about the network of people and resources that they have sitting next to them at Bucknell.

"Swallow that pride," he said, "and jump into the Bison safety net with both feet."

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