"I didn't think I'd have a child before I got married, but hey, it turned out that way, and I wouldn't change a thing," said Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling is opening up about the unease she felt about the prospect of single motherhood when she first welcomed her daughter into her life.

The Ocean’s 8 star gave an empowering commencement speech at Dartmouth College (where she graduated from in 2001) over the weekend, revealing the trepidation she felt when first bringing home now-5-month-old Katherine Swati.

“After my daughter was born in December, I remember bringing her home and being in my house with her for the first time and thinking, ‘Huh, according to movies and TV, this is traditionally the time when my mother and spouse are supposed to be here, sharing this experience with me,’ ” said Kaling, whose own mom died of pancreatic cancer in 2012.

“And I looked around and I had neither. And for a moment it was kind of scary, like, ‘Can I do this by myself?’ ” she continued. “But then that feeling went away because the reality is, I’m not doing it by myself. I’m surrounded by family and friends who love and support me.”

Added The Mindy Project star and creator, 38: “And the joy that I feel from being with my daughter Katherine eclipses anything from any crazy checklist.”

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The actress wants to use her own experiences as an example for the way that life can go the way it’s meant to go.

“So I just want to tell you guys, don’t be scared if you don’t do things in the right order or if you don’t do some things at all,” Kaling addressed the graduates. “I didn’t think I’d have a child before I got married, but hey, it turned out that way, and I wouldn’t change a thing.”

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She adding jokingly, “I didn’t think I’d have dessert before breakfast today, but hey, it turned out that way, and I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Mindy Kaling

Kaling wants the class of 2018 learn what she has in her 17 years since graduation: the ability to balance a life plan with the willingness to be flexible and let things unfold as they may.

“So if I could impart any advice, it’s this: If you have a checklist, good for you. Structured ambition can sometimes be motivating,” she raved. “But also, feel free to let it go.”

“Yes, my culminating advice from my speech is a song from the Disney animated movie Frozen,” Kaling joked.