105 Graduation Quotes to Inspire and Motivate the Class of 2024

*Tosses cap*

Final papers have been turned in. Grades have been distributed. Lockers have been cleared. Yep, graduation season is upon us. So you might want to grab the tissues because your little kiddo is all grown up and headed for the big bright world ahead—replete with celebratory backyard parties (including a kick ass playlist) and maybe even some exciting summer travel. But before the 2024 graduates take off onto their next journey—whether that be college or, dare we say, the "real" world—they could probably use a few words of wisdom. Since they might’ve heard enough of your life lessons (no offense), let some famous writers, innovators and yup, even Yoda, fill in the blanks with one of these inspiring graduation quotes. Whether they are heading off to university or preparing to enter the workforce, slip an encouraging message into their graduation gift to get them pumped for the chapter ahead. From Beyoncé, Green Day and Billie Jean King to Octavia Spencer, Eleanor Roosevelt and Bill Nye, here are 105 graduation quotes to motivate the class of 2024.

57 College Graduation Gift Ideas for the Class of 2021

High School Graduation Quotes

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1. “Success doesn’t rush. The greatest reward is the journey!” — Oscar Wilde

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2. “Follow your fear.” — Tina Fey

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3. “The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.” — B.B. King

4. “Carpe diem, seize the day boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” — John Keating, Dead Poet’s Society

5. “Always aim high, work hard and care deeply about what you believe in.” — Hillary Clinton

6. “I urge you to set aside your labels and explore what your principles say about the world you wish to serve. Because beliefs are our anchors.” — Stacey Abrams

7. “The unfortunate yet truly exciting thing about your life is that there is no Core Curriculum. The entire place is an elective.” — Jon Stewart

8. “Here is what I’ve learned: we may live in an age of instant messaging, instant gratification and Instagram, but there is no way to short circuit the path to success. It takes hard work, tenacity and patience.” — Tory Burch

9. “If you’re willing to stand for what you believe won’t need advice from me, because you will be able to handle whatever comes.” — Whoopi Goldberg

10. “Fall forward. Every failed experiment is one step closer to success. You’ve got to take risks.” — Denzel Washington

11. “I know I can be what I wanna be. If I work hard at it, I’ll be where I wanna be.” — “I Can” by Nas

12. “The road to success is always under construction.” — Lily Tomlin

13. “Do or do not. There is no ‘try’” — Yoda In Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back

14. “Live with life. Be courageous, adventurous. Give us a tomorrow, more than we deserve.” — Maya Angelou

15. “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” — Ferris Bueller In Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

16. “There may be days when you’ll say to yourself, ‘I can’t. I literally can’t even.’ But you can! You can even!” — Katie Couric

17. “From my point of view, which is that of a storyteller, I see your life as already artful, waiting, just waiting and ready for you to make it art.” — Toni Morrison

18. “Your life is your story and the adventure ahead of you is the journey to fulfill your own purpose and potential.” — Kerry Washington

19. “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” — E.E. Cummings

20. “When people tell you not to believe in your dreams, and they say ‘Why?’ Say ‘Why not?’” — Billie Jean King

21. “I am unwritten, can’t read my mind. I’m undefined. I’m just beginning, the pen’s in my hand. Ending unplanned.” — “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield

22. “Follow your passion. It will lead you to your purpose.” — Oprah Winfrey

23. “Your path is your character defining itself more and more every day, like a photograph coming into focus.” — Jodie Foster

24. “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.” — Nelson Mandela

25. “If you can do what you do best and be happy, you are further along in life than most people.” — Leonardo DiCaprio

26. “You are about to start the greatest improvisation of all. With no script. No idea what’s going to happen, often with people and places you have never seen before. And you are not in control. So say ‘yes.’ And if you’re lucky, you'll find people who will say ‘yes’ back.” — Stephen Colbert

27. “You must have some vision for your life. Even if you don't know the plan, you have to have a direction in which you choose to go.” — Oprah

28. “You don’t go to university so you can punch a clock. You go to university so you can be in a position to make a difference.” — Janet Napolitano

29. “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” — Malcolm X

30. “I’ve learned it’s important not to limit yourself. You can do whatever you really love to do, no matter what it is.” —Ryan Gosling

31. “Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

32. “You cannot dream of becoming something you do not know about. You have to learn to dream big. Education exposes you to what the world has to offer, to the possibilities open to you.” — Sonia Sotomayor

33. “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.” — Neil Gaiman

34. “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.” — Larry Page

35. “When we show up, act boldly, and practice the best ways to be wrong, we fail forward. No matter where we end up, we’ve grown from where we began.” — Stacey Abrams

36. “I celebrate you as you remember the power of grace and pride, and I challenge you to choose freedom over fear.” — Janelle Monáe

37. “You could travel with the sheep, follow everybody else’s stuff, but then you’re not you. I guess if I want to say anything it’s ‘Be you.’ Be true to you, and that should make the ride a little more interesting.” — Whoopi Goldberg

38. “The horizon leans forward, offering you space to place new steps of change.” — Maya Angelou

39. “Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.” — Shonda Rhimes

40. “Your self-worth is determined by you. You don’t have to depend on someone telling you who you are.” — Beyoncé

41. “Understand that one day you will have the power to make a difference, so use it well.” — Mindy Kaling

42. “Persistence can change failure into extraordinary achievement.” — Mat Bondi

43. “It’s the choice. You have to wake up every day and say ‘There’s no reason today can’t be the best day of my life.’” — Blake Lively

44. “Don’t ever doubt yourselves or waste a second of your life. It’s too short and you’re too special.” — Ariana Grande

45. “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” — Thomas Edison

46. “Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there.” — Will Rogers

47. “You will screw it up sometimes.” — Taylor Swift

48. “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. By all means, you should follow that.” — Ellen DeGeneres

49. “If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in the dark with a mosquito.” — Betty Reese

50. “The future is always uncertain, but we who celebrate what you have done, who celebrate all of your achievements, we are certain of one thing on this day: you will not let us down.” — Tom Hanks

51. “The old rules are crumbling and nobody knows what the new rules are. So make your own rules.” — Neil Gaiman

52. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” — Nelson Mandela

53. “All dreams are within reach. All you have to do is keep moving towards them.” — Viola Davis

54. “I encourage you to live with life. Be courageous, adventurous. Give us a tomorrow, more than we deserve.” — Maya Angelou

55. “It never hurts to keep looking for sunshine.” — Eeyore

College Graduation Quotes

56. “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well neither does bathing; that’s why we recommend it daily.” — Zig Ziglar

57. “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

58. “Change takes courage.” — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

59. “I can’t think of any better representation of beauty than someone who is unafraid to be herself.” — Emma Stone

60. “Ignore the naysayers. Really the only option is: head down and focus on the job.” — Chris Pine

61. “Don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered.” — Michelle Obama

62. “Remember this: you are awesome. I’m not suggesting you be boastful. No one likes that in men or women. But I am suggesting that believing in yourself is the first necessary step to coming even close to achieving your potential.” — Sheryl Sandberg

63. “Real courage is holding on to a still voice in your head that says, ‘I must keep going.’ It’s that voice that says nothing is a failure if it is not final. That voice that says to you, ‘Get out of bed. Keep going. I will not quit.’” — Cory Booker

64. “No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.” — Taylor Swift

65. “We are all deserving and we don’t need permission or an invitation to exist and to step into our power.” — Ilhan Omar

66. “Real leadership comes from the quiet nudging of an inner voice. It comes from realizing that the time has come to move beyond waiting to doing.” — Madeleine Albright

67. “As you graduate, as you deal with your excitement and your doubts today, I urge you to try and create the world you want to live in. Minister to the world in a way that can change it. Minister radically in a real, active, practical, get your hands dirty way.” — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

68. “No job or task is too small or beneath you. If you want to get ahead, volunteer to do the things no one else wants to do, and do it better.” — Bobbi Brown

69. “Success is nothing if you don’t have the right people to share it with; you’re just going to end up lonely.” — Selena Gomez

70. “It’s your turn to choose and define what success means to you. Now, others will try to define it for you, but yours is the only voice that matters.” — Octavia Spencer

71. “You and you alone are the only person who can live the life that writes the story that you were meant to tell.” — Kerry Washington

72. “Some life lessons don’t ever change. They need to be highlighted and they need to be remembered throughout our entire lives. But how you embrace them will distinguish you from the pack.” — Brooke Shields

73. “Go make your big beautiful dent, and as you do so come down on the side of boldness. If you err, may it be for too much audacity, and not too little. For you really are enough. You have untold strengths and resources inside. You have your glorious self.” — Sue Monk Kidd

74. “When you respect the idea that you are sharing the Earth with other humans, and when you lead with your nice foot forward, you’ll win, every time. It might not be today, it might not be tomorrow, but it comes back to you when you need it.” — Kristen Bell

75. “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. You have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” —Steve Jobs

76. “Take your risks now. As you grow older, you become more fearful and less flexible…try to keep your mind open to possibilities and your mouth closed on matters that you don’t know about. Limit your ‘always’ and your ‘nevers.’ Continue to share your heart with people even if it’s been broken.” — Amy Poehler

77. “If I must give any of you advice it would be say yes. Say yes, and create your own destiny.” — Maya Rudolph

78. “Your inexperience is an asset in that it will make you think in original, unconventional ways. Accept your lack of knowledge and use it as your asset.” —Natalie Portman

79. “Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” — Harriet Tubman

80. “I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance. Never settle for the path of least resistance. Livin’ might mean takin’ chances, but they’re worth takin.” — “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack

81. “Dreams are extremely important. You can’t do it unless you imagine it.” — George Lucas

82. “You have to have insane confidence in yourself even if it’s not real. I’m giving you permission to root for yourself and while you’re at it toot for those around you, too.” — Mindy Kaling

83. “Your education is a dress rehearsal for a life that is yours to lead.” — Nora Ephron

84. “Keep reaching. Keep seeking. Keep using your abilities to bring out the best in those around you, and let them bring out the best in you. Become the next great generation! You can and you will—dare I say it—change the world!” — Bill Nye

85. “Life is an improvisation. You have no idea what’s going to happen next, and you are mostly just making things up as you go along.” — Stephen Colbert

86. “Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss.” — Benjamin Button in The Missing Case Of Benjamin Button

87. “As you navigate the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them and it will change your life.” — Amy Poehler

88. “It’s something unpredictable. But in the end, it’s right. I hope you had the time of your life.” — “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” by Green Day

89. “Never let the challenges you face in life defeat your a leader by your actions, by your words, define your dream...make it happen no matter what the hurdles or obstacles may be.” — Alison Bechdel

90. “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

91. “Don’t buy society’s definition of success.” — Arianna Huffington

92. “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

93. “You will stumble and fall, you will experience both disaster and triumph, sometimes in the same day. But it’s really important to remember that like a hangover, neither triumphs nor disasters last forever.” — Helen Mirren

94. “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

95. “At some point, you’ve got to decide for yourself who you gonna be. Can’t let nobody make that decision for you.” — Juan In Moonlight

96. “Just remember, you can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets.” — Arnold Schwarzenegger

97. “Your perspective is unique. It’s important and it counts. Try not to compare it to anyone else.” — Glenn Close

98. “Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.” — Paulo Coelho

99. “You eream, you gotta protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want something, go get it. Period.” — Chris Gardner In the Pursuit Of Happyness

100. “Don’t allow people to dim your shine because they are blinded. Tell them to put on sunglasses.” — Lady Gaga

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101. “Fight for what makes you optimistic about the world. Find it, insist on it, dig into it, go after it.” — Jennifer Garner

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102. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” — Mark Twain

103. “Don’t just get involved. Fight for your seat at the table. Better yet, fight for a seat at the head of the table.” — Barack Obama

104. “I wanna leave my footprints on the sand of time. Know there was something that I left behind. When I leave this world, I’ll leave no regrets. Leave something to remember, so they won’t forget. I was here. I lived, I loved. I was here.” — “I Was Here” by Beyoncé

105: “A great accomplishment shouldn't be the end of the road, just the starting point for the next leap forward.” — Harvey Mackay

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