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Person 2 Person: Ben Nemtin

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Person 2 Person: Ben Nemtin (Photo provided by Ben Nemtin)

(KUTV) -- Ben Nemtin is a New York Times best-selling author, speaker, and was the star of MTV's "The Buried Life."

Nemtin was the commencement speaker at the University of Utah's graduation ceremony.

He felt it was an honor to speak to the graduates.

His message to them as they start the next chapter of their lives was "You really have to listen to yourself and not do what other people are telling you to do."

Nemtin is perhaps most recognizable from MTV TV show "The Buried Life."

The show also sparked a book and also a documentary that is expected to be released next year.

The show was sparked by dark time in Nemtin's life. He had a lot going on in his life; he had an academic scholarship and was on the national rugby team in Canada

"I just put so much pressure on myself that I eventually just crashed," he said. "I broke down, I got depressed, I dropped out of school, I got dropped from the rugby team. And everything that I had, that I held precious, sort of was gone."

Nemtin decided to surround himself with friends that would uplift and inspire him.

One of his friends was Jonnie, a self-taught filmmaker. They decided to make a movie.

"We had no idea what we wanted to make a movie about, but we just knew that there were all these things that we had wanted to do, but we'd never done them," Nemtin said.

Then, Jonnie was assigned a poem in English class called "The Buried Life."

It articulated exactly what Ben, Jonnie, and their other friends, Dave and Duncan, were feeling.

"We have all these things that we want to do, but we haven't done them, because they're buried," Nemtin described.

So the four friends decided to adopt "The Buried Life" title and make an epic bucket list of their "buried dreams" and, "Every time we cross something off this list, let's help a stranger we meet a long the way do something on their list."

They got an RV and embarked on a two-week road trip across the country.

One of the seemingly impossible items they had on their list was to play basketball with President Obama. They had add it as a joke.

"We found ourselves at the White House playing basketball with the President three years later," Nemtin recalled. "It was that moment that we just thought, 'Wow. Anyone can do anything.'"

Although they set out to accomplish some of their dreams, they ended up helping and inspiring a lot of people along the way. And people enjoyed helping them as well.

"We realized that when you give someone the chance to be a hero, they take that. And not only that, but by us doing what we loved--going after this bucket list--we inspired other people to do the same," he said.

Since the show ended, Nemtin has heard from a lot of people who were inspired by their work--including a lot of people who were struggling with thoughts of suicide, depression, anxiety and more.

"That's one of the reasons why I talk about why I struggled with depression," Nemtin said. "If I can help someone that was in the position that I was just by opening up about it, then that's worth it."

Nemtin's friendship with the other three starts of "The Buried Life," also helped him.

"We all lifted each other up when the other person was thinking, 'We can't do this,'" Nemtin said. "It was our collective will that kept us going."

Nemtin believes they were lucky to stumble up this idea and this movement at a young age.

"We were just young and dumb enough to just believe in ourselves and not listen to anyone that was like, 'This won't work,'" he said. "I think that naiveté is really important to hold onto. Because to quote Henry Ford, 'Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right.'"

Web exclusives:

What Ben Nemtin learned from crossing items off his bucket list

Special moments Ben Nemtin experienced on "The Buried Life"

Ben Nemtin wants to break the stigma around mental health


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