50 Graduation Quotes to Inspire and Motivate 2021 Graduates

editor@purewow.com (PureWow)
·8 min read

Graduation might be a little different this year, with many graduates throwing their caps on Zoom or having socially distant virtual parties. But regardless, you can still celebrate one of their biggest accomplishments with some good ole words of wisdom. Now, they might’ve heard enough of your life lessons, so why not let famous writers, innovators and yup, even Yoda, do it for you. Whether they are heading to college or preparing for the workforce, slip an encouraging message into their graduation gift to get them pumped for the new chapter ahead. From Beyoncé to Green Day, here are 50 graduation quotes to inspire and motivate the class of 2021.

RELATED: 51 College Graduation Gift Ideas for the Class of 2021

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

2. “Follow your fear.” — Tina Fey

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

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

5. “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

6. “I know you’re missing what was supposed to be your medal ceremony but that...doesn’t change a thing. You’ve already won. So today, let’s celebrate that. Let’s celebrate all the hard work it took to get here. We are so proud of what you’ve accomplished.” — Simone Biles

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

8. “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

9. “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

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

11. “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

12. “The unfortunate yet truly exciting thing about your life is that there is no core curriculum. The entire place is an elective.” — Jon Stewart

13. “You dream, 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

14. “Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.” – Paulo Coelho

15. “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

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

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

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

19. “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

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

21. “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

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

23. “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

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

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

26. “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

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

28. “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

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

30. “Never let the challenges you face in life defeat your spirit...be 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

31. “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

32. “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

33. “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

34. “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

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

36. “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

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

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

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

40. “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

41. “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

42. “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

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

44. “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 root for those around you, too.” — Mindy Kaling

45. “Follow your passion. It will lead you to your purpose.” – Oprah Winfrey

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

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

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

49. “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

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