Top 10 Motivational Quotes For Students And Grads


Our society is obsessed with words to live by.

Lululemon water bottles. Roots shopping bags. Pinterest boards dedicated solely to this concept. Quotes at the bottom of email signatures. We can’t seem to get enough motivational quotes.

When the motivational quote trend first took off, I thought it was stupid.

I thought people would know to drink fresh water without having their water bottle tell them to. I figured the idea that friends were more important than money was common sense and not something that needed to be proclaimed on a gym bag. I assumed people naturally did things they enjoyed without relying on their desk calendar to put this idea in their head.

I still feel this way to an extent, however, as a recent and lost-feeling graduate, have come to realize the power these words have.

I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve read someone’s Lululemon shopping bag, yet every time I see that “Dance, Sing, Floss & Travel” part it genuinely makes me want to sing and dance. It motivates me to start saving up for a new trip. It even encourages me to improve my dental hygiene.

Seeing these four words together, for whatever reason, makes me believe that everything is going to be okay. I don’t need to have it all figured out yet. Things will happen when they happen and in the meantime there is so much else to be enjoyed. It genuinely comforts me and makes me see that although student life is over, new grad life can be simpler than we always make it out to be.

All this from a reusable shopping bag! Imagine what I could get from a suitcase.

Recently I stumbled upon the commencement speech Ellen Degeneres made at Tulane University in New Orleans. It is hilarious but equally encouraging.

She states that when she was younger she had no ambition and no idea where she was heading. She has changed. Her idea of success has changed. She has over 11 million followers on Facebook today, but at one point she had zero and lived alone in a basement apartment. Hearing her outline her own struggles was extremely reassuring to me and made me believe that I would “find myself” one day. Again, the power of someone else’s words – and some motivational student quotes – stepped into play.

Essays, exams and a budget that only covers canned soup for lunch can accumulate into low spirits. Sometimes an all-day bender of “Sex and the City” with cake for dinner is all it takes to push your spirits back to soaring. However, sometimes the fix isn’t quite as easy as that.

When you are entering the graduation phase and haven’t a clue what to say when people ask you what’s next on the agenda, it’s easy to feel discouraged. However, sometimes a good motivational quote for any student can make all the difference. Trust me. I’ve sang, danced, travelled and flossed my way into happiness on numerous occasions. Lululemon’s got my back.

Top 10 motivational quotes for students and new grads:

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“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”

– Vincent Van Gogh

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“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”

– Mark Twain

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“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

– Winston Churchill

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“Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drowned your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

– Steve Jobs

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“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”

– Alexander Graham Bell

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“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”

– H. Jackson Brown Jr.


“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

– Thomas A. Edison

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“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.”

– Nora Roberts

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“Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.”

– Christian D. Larson

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“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

– C.S. Lewis

What’s your favourite motivational quote for students and recent graduates?