"Failure is a tool," rapper and writer Dessa told a graduating class of thousands. But not a tool in some ugly-duckling fable, she said.

"In being able to tolerate the prospect of failure," she continued, "you become bold enough to be appropriately ambitious when selecting your future objectives."

Dessa, a member of the hip-hop collective Doomtree, delivered last week's commencement address for the University of Minnesota's College of Liberal Arts, of which she is an alumna. The video is below.

"If you want a really good speech about how to be successful, I suggest that you Google Steve Jobs," she said. "He really killed it.

"Today, I’m going to talk a little bit about why I think failure is important."

Dessa, who earned her B.A. in philosophy in 2003, also recounted a key conversation with Professor Valerie Tiberius and described how her studies have informed her imagination. 

Also, check her out in cap and gown.