shatnerAfter graduating from McGill University, William Shatner landed his first professional job in a small acting company in Montreal. “The bothersome thing was that I got the job as an assistant manager by telling them I got my bachelor’s degree from McGill, and that I was adept at accounting and banking,” he said in a commencement speech in 2011.

Although he had a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McGill, he wasn’t all that great at math.

It didn’t take long for people at his new job to discover that he had no accounting skills whatsoever—but that he was a good actor.

Before college, he had been active in amateur theatricals on radio and stage. (This was before television or the Starship Enterprise existed.)

In college, he built on those interests, becoming president of the radio club and helped create and perform in university musicals.

To close his speech, Shatner offered up some wisdom. “The road of life isn’t linear,” he said, comparing it to a dusty, dirty country route, with soft shoulders and high banks.

“Don’t be afraid of taking chances, of striking out on paths that are untrod. Don’t be afraid of failing. Don’t be afraid of making an ass of yourself,” he told the new graduates. “I do it all the time, and look what I got.”

Best known for playing Captain James Kirk in Star Trek, Shatner might have added: “Don’t be afraid to go where no man has gone before.”

Source: Commencement Address by William Shatner, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, June 3, 2011, Vital Speeches of the Day (August 2011).