These words of wisdom, courtesy of everyone from Tina Fey to Michelle whether you're celebrating a kindergartner, a high school grad.
As you’re reaching the end of high school, chances are you’re asking yourself “What comes next?”
Up until this point in your life, the progression of events was likely fairly straightforward and largely mandated. You were required to obtain an education and probably made decisions under the watchful eyes of your parents or caretakers.
However, when you graduate from high school, the act of determining what steps to take may not be as simple. You will inevitably receive increased independence and may undergo a life-shaping period of transformation. Bridging the gap to college and deciding on a specific major to pursue may prove difficult and stressful. The uncertainty of narrowing your vision and honing in on a specific path to take can be undeniably challenging.
But the process of finding an answer to the formidable question of “what comes next” should never cripple you with fear. Although graduating from high school can be terrifying, it can also be rather exciting. In many regards, your high school graduation signifies your arrival into adulthood. It offers you an opportunity to inherit additional responsibilities and begin shaping the life that you desire.
When the thought of deciding what to do next feels overwhelming and intimidating, just remember that others have come before you, facing similar apprehensions and overcoming them. Many are willing to share with you a vast library of useful and inspirational advice, resources, and tips. Now’s the time to listen to how others found their passion and enjoyed success.
Although the road ahead will be treacherous at times, these hardships do not have to define your journey as a whole. In this article, we offer lots of useful advice for high school seniors.
High school graduation is an important milestone in your educational journey. Educators realize this, which is why keynote speakers are typically brought in to provide words of wisdom for high school graduates as encouragement.
As you rapidly approach high school graduation and embark on the next chapter in your life, consider these inspirational quotes:
“Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away! 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 from “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”
“There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.”– Oprah Winfrey
“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.” – Mark Twain
“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”– Winston Churchill
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”– Steve Jobs
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” – Henry David Thoreau
“The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.”– Aristotle
“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”– Eleanor Roosevelt
“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” – Milton Berle
“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you’re doing, but what you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself.” – Alan Alda
“The fireworks begin today. Each diploma is a lighted match. Each one of you is a fuse.”– Edward Koch
“As you start your journey, the first thing you should do is throw away that store-bought map and begin to draw your own.” – Michael Dell
The best inspirational books challenge readers to really consider how their values and talents might align with potential career paths and offer great tips for high school seniors. The books below will help you figure out “what comes next.”
As the date of your high school graduation draws closer, you may be wondering how best to prepare for college. Without a doubt, even after you’ve made the decision to go to college, knowing where and how to start preparing can be overwhelming.
Ultimately, there is no perfect sequential process to fully prepare you for the academic journey ahead. However, these college preparation tips will give you the confidence to continue moving forward:
Take Challenging Courses – This is really only applicable if you still have at least another semester of high school left. Colleges will be evaluating your applications by looking at your high school grades as well as the weight of your academic load. If you can prove that you challenged yourself throughout high school by taking advanced courses or courses that earned you college credit, then you will be far more marketable.
However, if you did not take advanced courses while in high school, don’t feel the need to jump ship and panic. You can certainly still find ways to prove to admission boards that you are willing and able to challenge yourself as a college student.
If you haven’t taken any advanced courses or earned any college credit, consider taking a general education summer course from a community college after your high school graduation. By doing so, you will build up confidence in yourself and demonstrate to admission boards your desire to continue working towards a higher education.
Take Vocational Assessments or Research Possible Careers– It is a great idea to start college with some sort of goal. With that said, you might not know which major you would like to declare when you first enter college — and that’s perfectly fine! Many who start college as freshmen with a major declared typically end up switching to another major anyways.
Nevertheless, by taking various skills assessments before entering college, you can develop a pretty good understanding of what vocation you would be most interested in pursuing. With these results, you can then establish an excellent starting point for additional and more directed research.
Apply Early – If you are able to research specific programs and colleges early, you should start filling out applications early. Not only will colleges be impressed by your forethought, but you will also have a better chance of beating the rush and earning your acceptance.
You’ll also be more likely to get enrolled early, which can allow you to relax a bit and enjoy the last few days of your time in high school. Besides that, many colleges allow priority access to financial aid, housing, and class registration for incoming freshmen who have completed their enrollment process earliest.
Apply for All the Scholarships You Can – There are so many scholarships available to those who really take the time to search and apply for them. If you spend time seeking out them out, you can likely save a significant amount of money when you begin your first semester. When applying for different scholarships, don’t immediately pass over the “small” ones — they can often really add up to make a huge difference.
Visit Often and Seek Advice From Others – While researching colleges can give you a decent idea of what to expect, you can’t develop a more accurate picture until you have physically stepped on campus and taken the time to explore and experience colleges firsthand. If you are able to do so, consider speaking with some students from your prospective colleges to develop a more complete and precise set of expectations.
Seek Financial Advice – College could possibly signify your first encounter with financial independence, which means that you will want to learn how to budget effectively. Make sure to speak with your parents or mentors to get their advice on financial matters as you start to figure out cost-effective strategies. If college seems too expensive, look for ways to save, such as textbook renting or an occasional online course.
Do Not Be Afraid of Failure– As you have probably heard innumerable times already and will continue to hear in the upcoming weeks, graduating from high school and entering college is an enormous transition. You are not expected to have everything figured out as soon as you begin your first semester. In fact, it is quite likely that there will be several new components to your life that you won’t be good at right away.
When you inevitably encounter difficult classes, problematic roommates, financial hardships, or the overall fear of failure, don’t lose hope. This happens to everyone, and it is a vital part of growing up.
With that said, you should never allow the possibility of failure to ever hinder you from being willing to take risks. Enjoy your opportunity to pursue a higher education and keep pushing on with confidence and optimism.
For some high school seniors, the thought of pursuing college and spending additional years within the confines of education probably sounds truly miserable.
“Do I really have to pursue college? Is this the best path for me to take?”
These are important questions to ask.
If you do have serious reservations about the pursuit of a more traditional, four-year degree, you need to consider what other options are available. Regardless of what others might be telling you, the reality is that college is not for everyone. Going into college halfheartedly will probably leave you with a lot of stress and a financial burden.
Although education is critical for vocational success, college is not. If you find yourself torn by what path to take, consider the following options:
With graduation closing in, the best advice for high school seniors is really to reflect deeply on the question “What comes next?” Your options are vast and the opportunities should excite you!
The time is short now. Your cap and gown are hanging in the closet. Your graduation announcements have been ordered. High school is almost over. You are.
From serious and sentimental to humorous and fun, graduation sayings exist to fit whatever message you want to convey to a graduate. You can use graduation sayings as part of a special graduation speech or to add to a card, scrapbook, yearbook, graduation cake or gift for a middle school or high school graduate.
Tell your son or daughter how you feel with these classic quotes. You can say or write:
If you're looking for a religious quote to share with the recent graduate you can use:
Sometimes it's best to keep things short and sweet. Write or say:
A motivational message is a great way to share some words of wisdom with the graduate. You can try:
Put a smile on the graduate's face with some of these silly sayings:
Want a saying that is unique and has never been heard before? Use these in a graduation speech or quote.
Let your little one know how proud you are of them with these phrases:
Let the 8th grader in your life know how great they've done in school by saying or writing:
High school graduation is such an incredible milestone to experience. Try saying or writing:
A graduation banner is a great way to decorate a graduation party, or your home after the ceremony. You can write or have the following options printed:
A graduation cake is a fun way to celebrate such a major milestone! You can write or have the bakery write:
If you're lost on what to say in a yearbook, you can try:
If your daughter is graduating, you can say or write:
When your son graduates, let him know how you feel by saying:
Although there are lots of quotes about graduation, the most meaningful may be a phrase or saying you come up with yourself. If you're writing a letter or card to a special grad, what was a piece of advice or a bit of inspiration you wish someone would have shared with you when you were a graduating high school student? For sentiments about education and commencement, take a fresh look at the event of graduation itself and note what strikes you as special about it. For tips on writing your own as sayings pertaining to graduation:
Sharing your thoughts with the recent graduate can be an incredibly meaningful moment for you two. Whether you decide to use a famous phrase or a personalized saying to express graduation sentiments, memorable graduation quotes can play an important role in celebrating this culmination in education.
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.
Hey, there’s only so much space on a graduation card. Here are some graduation messages that say a lot in a few words.
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.
Graduation is an emotional time for the proud parents. Here are some quotes to share with a daughter who’s graduating.
Here are some quotes to share with a graduating son.
Let us not forget that graduation is a time of celebration. Raise your glass to these graduation toasts.
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.
Newly minted high school graduates have new endeavors to look forward to, Graduates receive a lot of advice as the big day approaches. “Those words made me think and I acted upon it. Take some time, figure out your passions, focus on finishing senior year without the anxiety of starting college.
This is a real letter I wrote to my daughter. It’s a tradition at her high school for parents to write a letter to their graduating seniors. This is my letter to her. BTW: “Lolo” is her grandmother.
My Dearest Boo,
I could run through a box of pens telling you how much I love you, how proud I am of you, and how excited I am for your future. Being your mother has been my greatest joy and the most important thing I will ever do in my life. You are a wonderful person — smart, kind, funny and talented. And I am a lucky mother.
But you already know that I think you’re pretty great. So instead of spending pages recounting your many virtues and getting all weepy and sappy, I’ve decided to take this opportunity to impart a little more motherly advice before you head off to college.
Mind you, this is not the last you will be hearing from me on these subjects and many others. Because, honestly, a mother’s work is never done. You will probably learn that first hand someday. But no time like the present to share my bountiful wisdom with you. Because, as you know, sometimes I am a freaking genius. So make yourself comfortable and read on.
Advice for Boo
Call your mother.
Or at least text your mother.
Keep wet towels off the bed.
Make sure you have plenty of toilet paper.
Take pictures of yourself.
Keep nude pictures of yourself off the Internet.
Don’t tell Lolo about the nude pictures.
Check your email. Every day.
Travel whenever and wherever you can.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Help others when you can.
Wash new red clothes separately.
Keep your crap on your side of the room.
And don’t let your room get to the point where it looks like an episode of “Hoarders.”
You can never say “please” and “thank you” too often.
Sing. You have a gorgeous voice.
It’s ok to stalk Lena Hall — as long as you do it in a non-creepy way.
Pay attention to the syllabus.
Be the type of friend you want to have.
Never leave your drink unattended.
If you want a tattoo, wait six months. Then wait another six months.
If you still want a tattoo at the end of the wait, the optimal design is “Mom” with a heart.
Never, ever, get a tattoo of the name of your significant other. If you must, please wait until I am dead.
Experiences are way more valuable than things.
Don’t overdraw your bank account. The fees are brutal.
Call your mother.
Use the buddy system at parties.
Don’t take dumb risks with your physical safety.
When you’re in your room and not studying or sleeping, keep the door open. Especially when you first start school.
Sometimes, it can feel really cathartic to let loose with a string of swear words.
Pro tip — Check the area for children before you start to swear.
You don’t always have to have a plan.
Get your papers started early.
Did I tell you to call your mom?
Check the weather before you leave home for the day.
Flush. You’re not in California anymore.
Pay attention to the news.
Keep doing yoga.
No. You don’t want to pay for the extended warranty.
Don’t let the cute salesgirl talk you into buying stuff you don’t need.
I don’t care how cute she is.
Sometimes you need to cut your losses and move on.
You can’t change anyone else.
Coolness is overrated.
Everyone does embarrassing things sometimes.
That guy who calls you and tells you that he’s from Microsoft? He’s not from Microsoft.
Go to the theater as often as you can.
Call your mom and tell her about your trip to the theater.
If you’ve been drinking, don’t cut or color your hair until you’re sober. Lolo learned this lesson the hard way.
But I would prefer that you not get arrested. It’s a mom thing.
Remember that people love to talk about themselves.
Sometimes you will have to pretend you are interested.
Don’t be surprised if you miss home more than you expect.
You will fail at some things, sometimes.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Or that you are a failure.
There will be times when you will have to tell someone else to f*ck off.
Don’t tell your mother to f*ck off.
If you’ve been drinking or are worried about getting safely from one place to another, you can always charge your taxi/Uber/Lyft to me.
Don’t let your friends drive drunk. If necessary, I’ll pay for their taxi/Uber/Lyft, too.
Have a few go-to topics for small talk. Weather, news, pornography, etc.
A broken heart will mend with time. Keep yourself busy while it is mending. Crazy busy if necessary.
Don’t assume malice when ignorance is an option.
If you’re expecting visitors, make at least a half-assed attempt to make your bed.
For God’s sake — DON’T SMOKE!
Make an effort to eat meals with other people.
Eat fruits and veggies. But not other people.
I trust that second part could have gone without saying.
Take advantage of being so close to New York.
Remember that I’m not trying to be nosy or controlling, I just miss you and want to know how you’re doing.
OK. Maybe I’m trying to be a little controlling.
If you make a mistake (and you will), apologize. Sincerely.
Forgiveness is something you do for yourself, not for the person you are forgiving.
Everyone feels weird and awkward at times. It’s just that some people are better at hiding it than others.
Fall for the geek.
Keep learning/practicing Spanish.
Pick your battles.
Learn when to say no. Repeat as necessary.
If it doesn’t exist yet, create it.
Keep your phone charged.
When in doubt, err on the side of formality.
If you’ve been drinking, drink a big glass of water before you go to sleep. Have ibuprofen and carbohydrates ready for the morning.
Despite appearances to the contrary, I’m not encouraging you to get drunk all that often, but it’s better to be prepared.
Unless you are a brain surgeon, perfection is overrated.
So is prestige.
Remember that if you fail to respond to your mom’s calls/texts for more than a day or two, your mom will assume that you are dead or being held hostage by a maniac.
Don’t do that to your mom.
Also, try not to be taken hostage by a maniac.
I love you. I’ll miss you.
This article was previously published on The Haven.
A motivational message is a great way to share some words of wisdom with the High school graduation is such an incredible milestone to experience.