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Words of wisdom for graduates

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Words of wisdom for graduates
December 06, 2018 Anniversary Wishes for Wife 2 comments

To narrow it down, we've identified the top 50 graduation quotes of all time. could probably fill a hefty book with sage words of advice for graduating students.

We have arrived at that time of year, when graduating students across the country don their caps and gowns, and arm themselves with a big grin as they march across the stage to receive their diplomas. Whether a student is finishing up middle, elementary, or high school, graduation is an important milestone in their learning journey.

Students want their graduation to be a special, memorable occassion and you, as an educator, want to inspire and motivate them to reach their goals. TeachHUB is here to help you. We've compiled a list of inspiring graduation quotes you can work into any speeches you may be giving this season, write in student yearbooks, or simply share with students as their final days in your class come to an end.

We hope this list of graduation quotes will come in handy when you’re struggling to think of just the right words to speak or jot down.

20 Inspiring Graduation Quotes

1. "In response to those who say to stop dreaming and face reality, I say keep dreaming and make reality."  - Kristian Kan

2. "You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who’ll decide where to go." - Dr. Seuss

3. "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition." - Steve Jobs

4. "Follow your passion, stay true to yourself, never follow someone else's path unless you're in the woods and you're lost and you see a path then by all means you should follow that." - Ellen Degeneres

5. “Education is the key to unlocking the world, a passport to freedom.” - Oprah Winfrey

6. "We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.” - JK Rowling

7. "Now go, and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make good art." - Neil Gaiman

8. "My favorite animal is the turtle. The reason is that in order for the turtle to move, it has to stick its neck out. There are going to be times in your life when you’re going to have to stick your neck out. There will be challenges and instead of hiding in a shell, you have to go out and meet them." - Ruth Westheimer

9. “I hope your dreams take you to the corners of your smiles, to the highest of your hopes, to the windows of your opportunities, and to the most special places your heart has ever known.” - Anonymous

10. "Share your sparkle wherever you are."  - Dodinsky

11. "The fireworks begin today.  Each diploma is a lighted match.  Each one of you is a fuse."  - Edward Koch

12. "Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail."  - Ralph Waldo Emerson

13. "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."  - Dr. Seuss

14. "What lies behind us, and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

15. "To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you too may one day be president of the United States." - George W. Bush

16. "All our dreams can come true...if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney

17. “Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do." - Ella Fitzgerald

18. "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." - Eleanor Roosevelt

19. "You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world's problems at once, but don't ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own." - Michelle Obama

20. "I think it is often easier to make progress on mega-ambitious dreams. I know that sounds completely nuts. But, since no one else is crazy enough to do it, you have little competition. There are so few people this crazy that I feel like I know them all by first name. They all travel as if they are pack dogs and stick to each other like glue. The best people want to work the big challenges." - Larry Page

Now, tell us: what inspirational graduation quotes do you like to use to motivate students? Share your response in the comments section, below!

TeachHUB recommends:

Words of Wisdom for High School Graduates. May 25, 2018 · CLASSMATES FUN . Whether high school was five years ago or 50, you've most likely heard at.

35 Inspirational Graduation Quotes Everyone Should Hear

words of wisdom for graduates

Graduation is right around the corner for the Class of 2018. Congratulations—you did it! We know you’ve worked so hard to get to this point, and we’re very proud of you all.

We’re especially proud of the CollegeXpress student writers graduating this year. They (and all our other awesome student writers!) devoted a lot of time writing for us and brought you top-notch advice on everything from choosing a major to navigating campus visits to writing that daunting application essay.

Below is more advice from our college-bound student writers—words of wisdom they wish they had received as underclassmen. We hope you’ll find it helpful as you work toward graduation and beyond!

Focus on your goals

My biggest suggestion is to stay confidently and constantly focused on your goals. Be assured in your abilities and devote yourself to your studies, no matter how hard it gets. Every bit of your education is extraordinarily important to who you’ll be after you graduate. A love of learning will take you so far in life, and if you employ it in high school, soon enough you’ll find yourself with a diploma in your hand and a huge smile on your face.

— Karabella Hernandez, attending The College of Wooster

If you had asked me four years ago if I would be where I am today, I would have told you, “Not in a million years.” I had college in mind, but I think I was more focused on maximizing my time in high school. There is a lot of potential there because people see you as a regular high school student and become immediately impressed when you shoot for the stars. If I could tell myself one piece of advice, it would be this: Don’t worry about trying to be special. You already are! Do what you love and that will make you a standout student.

— Carson Macik, attending Yale University

Happiness is important too

It was incredible how quickly these four years went by. If I could do it over with the experience I have now, I would remind myself not to neglect my hobbies and passions simply to claw my way to the top academically. The rewards aren’t so great to justify sacrificing happiness and pursuit of skills that can’t be taught in a classroom. I would also want to encourage myself to be more involved in my community—I want to remember this place fondly and to be remembered as a good influence. Above all, enjoy yourself and make new friends!

— Sarah Montalbano, attending Montana State University–Bozeman

Do what makes you happy! Even if what makes you the happiest doesn’t satisfy “college requirements,” you have to try to enjoy yourself in high school. Your high school experience shouldn’t be about “checking the box.” Have fun and do what you love! Also, try to branch out in your activities. Now is the time to experiment and see what you’re interested in. Not everything has to be about getting the perfect grade or getting enough community service hours. You should strive to be yourself and be completely, undeniably happy.

— Rebecca Blyn, attending Harvey Mudd College

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should

Sure, you could probably run on four hours of sleep (with a few espressos, of course) in order to participate in eight clubs, earn 5s on every AP test, and score a 1500 on your SAT, but that doesn’t make it a good idea. I understand that doing as much as you can manage is important—and I certainly think you should push yourself—but sacrificing your mental and physical health for .02 points on your weighted GPA is a bad bargain. Remember to take care of yourself and spend time doing what you love. You can do great things, but you don’t have to do it all. 

— Kay Teekell, attending Southwestern University

Rejection is temporary, but regret can last forever

Always go after what you want: Yes, you should ask her out. Yes, you should enter that writing competition. Yes, you should try out for the cross-country team. Yes, you should apply to your dream school. And yes, you should definitely prompose to him in the most lavish way possible. If it works out, it will have been 10,000% worth the risk. If it doesn’t, you haven’t failed—you’ve just found one more way that won’t work! And in the absolute worst-case scenario, you’ll be able to leave high school with a really great story to tell.

— Sara Wasdahl, attending New York University

Dedicate time to your passions

Don’t try to juggle too many extracurricular activities just for the purpose of filling up your résumé. Instead, find a few things you’re passionate about and pursue them. Colleges would rather see that you dedicated yourself wholeheartedly to a couple of things rather than see you stretched yourself too thin and were half-involved in loads of activities. Throughout my high school years, I added more hours to my dance schedule and became even more involved at my studio. When I applied to college, I was able to share a lot about how my dancing impacted my life and shaped me into the person I am today.

— Tamar Lilienthal, attending University of Pennsylvania in 2019

Don’t be afraid to try something new

Try new things. Never taken an art class before? Do it. Want to try theater? Go for it!  Your high school experience will be enriched by trying new things, and you will meet more friends.

— Grayson Yount, attending University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The hardest challenges are the most rewarding

School is stuck in a perpetual time loop. In the moment, you're staring at textbooks, papers, whiteboards, notes, and agendas. When the moment's gone, you're left with fleeting memories of classmates, friends, and giddy interactions with counselors about your future. Even though it's difficult now, you have a bright future. The hardest path is often the worst to travel on in the moment, but having made it through, you will find your success all the more satisfying. Take that road. I wish you the best in traveling it. Best of wishes and keep moving forward, my friend.

— Rachel Bullock

People change

You won't be the exact same person four years from now, and that's okay. Try not to go into high school with a set plan of what you want to do for the rest of your life, and don't build your schedule around that mentality either. Take it slow, see what works for you, and try things you're curious about or you otherwise wouldn't have made time for. High school is about exploration and discovery, and it's more important to enjoy the experience and find out more about yourself as a person than it is to be the best at everything.

— Eliza Browning, attending Wheaton College in Massachusetts

It’s okay to not have all the answers—what classes you want to take, what clubs you want to join, or even what you want to do after high school. Your four years of high school are a period of experimentation, and as long as you’re open to new experiences, something that “clicks” is bound to come your way. Get out of your comfort zone—take a journalism class, run cross-country, join your school’s debate team, etc. And if you end up not liking any of these choices, at least you know what not to continue in your life.

— Gabriella Son

Studying is important

One of the best pieces of advice I received from upperclassmen my freshman and sophomore years was that homework and studying may be optional, but they should be necessary. I looked for any way I could find to not put in the effort to study, but if I had actually studied, I would’ve done a lot better on my tests and AP exams. I wish I studied more my freshman year, but I didn’t think I needed to. I know it’s probably advice you’ve received numerous times, but I can’t stress this enough.

— Renee Serna, attending Palomar College

Find the big picture

Society loves to put high school and its inhabitants under a magnifying glass. The people you talk to, grades you earn, and interests you choose to pursue are seemingly scrutinized by everyone you know. Realize that your peers might act so close-minded because they may only know the 20 classrooms in your school or the eight stoplights in your town. Use your four years to learn as much as you can from your classes, teachers, and peers. Find new ways to look at old things, and you will beat this small mindset.

— Paige Miller, attending Ohio University 

Congratulations again to the Class of 2018! We’re super proud of you!

Note: Did you know you could win a $10,000 scholarship for college or grad school just by registering on CollegeXpress? This is one of the quickest, easiest scholarships you’ll ever apply for. Register Now »

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WATCH THE VIDEO ON THEME: Words Of Wisdom: Tony Robbins' Compilation
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36 Graduation Quotes That Inspire

words of wisdom for graduates

Graduation is a big occasion that calls for big sentiments. Whether you’re writing a commencement address or just sending graduation wishes, you’re searching for words that are profound, poetic, inspirational, funny, and preferably, brief. But hey, no pressure.

This is when it might be a good time to lean on the eloquence of others. Fortunately, many people have offered their pearls of wisdom to high school and college graduates over the years. In fact, you could probably fill a hefty book with sage words of advice for graduating students.

Consider this the Cliffs Notes version. To save you from endless research, we’ve put together a list of the best graduation quotes of all time. Note that while many of these sayings are well-known, we’ve taken the road less traveled and avoided some of the more obvious choices.

Inspirational | Short | Funny | For Daughter | For Son | Toasts


It’s called “commencement” because graduates are beginning something new. Here are some inspirational graduation quotes to motivate them toward greatness.

  • “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
  • “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.”
  • “To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.”
  • “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”
  • “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”
  • “Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”
  • “What lies behind us, and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.”
    attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “To be really great in little things, to be truly noble and heroic in the insipid details of everyday life, is a virtue so rare as to be worthy of canonization.”
  • “Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”
  • “The old rules are crumbling and nobody knows what the new rules are. So make up your own rules.”
  • “If you are successful, it is because somewhere, sometime, someone gave you a life or an idea that started you in the right direction. Remember also that you are indebted to life until you help some less fortunate person, just as you were helped.”
  • “You cannot authentically live anyone’s life but your own. That is the deal life offers us.”
  • “This is your time and it feels normal to you, but really, there is no normal. There’s only change and resistance to it and then more change.”
  • “Success is relative. It is what we make of the mess we have made of things.”
  • “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
  • “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”


Hey, there’s only so much space on a graduation card. Here are some graduation messages that say a lot in a few words.

  • “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
  • “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”
  • “Life loves the liver of it.”
  • “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
  • “Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.”
  • “Your education is a dress rehearsal for a life that is yours to lead.”
  • “I think I’m quite ready for another adventure!”
  • “Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”
  • “Share your sparkle wherever you are.”
  • “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
  • “In response to those who say to stop dreaming and face reality, I say keep dreaming and make reality.”
  • “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”
  • “There is no traffic jam along the extra mile.”
  • “Go forth and set the world on fire.”


Graduation is a solemn and ceremonious rite of passage, which makes it a perfect target for humor. Here are some funny graduation quotes to keep things loose.

  • “You have the power. You are your own professor now. Which I know is a little creepy because that means you’re showering with your professor. But you have tenure. They can’t fire you.”
  • “Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
  • “If you’re still playing beer pong five years from now, you may be on the wrong track.”
  • “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.”
  • “Commencement speeches were invented largely in the belief that outgoing college students should never be released into the world until they have been properly sedated.”
  • “Life has no remote… get up and change it yourself!”
  • “A graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that ‘individuality’ is the key to success.”
  • “Never follow anyone else’s path, unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path. Then by all means follow that path.”
  • “To those of you who received honours, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be president of the United States.”
  • “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”

For Daughter

Graduation is an emotional time for the proud parents. Here are some quotes to share with a daughter who’s graduating.

  • “Don’t just get involved. Fight for your seat at the table. Better yet, fight for a seat at the head of the table.”
  • “I am a woman with thoughts and questions and shit to say. I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong. You will not determine my story – I will.”
  • “She turned her can’ts into cans and her dreams into plans.”

For Son

Here are some quotes to share with a graduating son.

  • “Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.”
  • “A man may conquer a million men in battle but one who conquers himself is, indeed, the greatest of conquerors.”
  • “Be careful to leave your sons well instructed rather than rich, for the hopes of the instructed are better than the wealth of the ignorant.”

Graduation Toasts

Let us not forget that graduation is a time of celebration. Raise your glass to these graduation toasts.

  • “May you live long enough to see your hair grayed, your grandchildren grown, and your student loans paid off!”
  • “Here’s to the parents who adored us
    The teachers who bored us
    The assignments that wore on us
    And the friendships that restored us!”
  • “Here’s to the graduate. She’s leaving classes, but staying classy.”
  • “Here’s a toast to the graduate, because toast is about all he can afford to eat with the cost of tuition these days.”

Of course, graduation is also a time for saying goodbye – to classmates, teachers, and sometimes parents. If that’s your focus, see this list of the best farewell quotes.

Sarah Sullivan '17 (left) and David Norris MLIS'17 (right) spoke to fellow graduates and guests at the winter 2017 commencement exercises on.

55 Graduation Quotes

words of wisdom for graduates

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Personalized Words Of Wisdom Graduation Canvas, Available in 3 Sizes:
  • Personalize with any name up to 12 characters, any school name up to 35 characters and any year
  • Available in 3 sizes: 11"L x 14"H, 16"L x 20"H or 18"L x 24"H
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Graduation is a time of new beginnings and opportunities. This eye-catching artwork celebrates the moment with inspiring words of encouragement.




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WATCH THE VIDEO ON THEME: Inspirational Graduation Quotes

It's graduation season, which means that college students everywhere are getting a heavy dose of advice for finding their passions, chasing success, and.

words of wisdom for graduates
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