8 Inspiring Quotes From Commencement Speeches

Sometimes you need some motivation – use these quotes from commencement speeches around the country to keep you focused on your goals!

8 Inspiring Quotes From Commencement Speeches

“There is nothing more beautiful than finding your course as you believe you bob aimlessly in the current. Wouldn’t you know that your path was there all along, waiting for you to knock, waiting for you to become. This path does not belong to your parents, your teachers, your leaders, or your lovers. Your path is your character defining itself more and more everyday like a photograph coming into focus.”

—Jodie Foster

Sometimes you may feel lost in high school, especially if you haven’t yet decided what to do with the rest of your life. You may feel pressure from teachers, parents, or friends, but it’s okay! Try your hardest in everything you do, and you’ll find your path. What matters is putting in the effort. If you don’t work at it, you may never know this endeavor or that is something you want to do for the rest of your life.

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”

—Benjamin Franklin

Education is one thing that will never let you down. Anything you learn is with you forever, and will be there in your mind if you run into issues. If you put the effort into your education, it will help you in work and life for the rest of your life.

“When you take risks, you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important.”

—Ellen DeGeneres

High school and college can be very hard. You will get bad grades sometimes, you will struggle with a concept, you will face rejection. Rather than let it get you down, learn from it. Learn how to work harder, how to overcome obstacles, how to process your feelings in a way that rejection motivates you to improve yourself. It could be argued you’ll learn more from your failures than your successes (in fact, it’s an essay choice on the Common App. So if you have a good example from your life, use it!)

“Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.”

—Charles Swindoll

Certainly, some things are out of your control, but how you respond to it matters far more than the initial incident. If you struggle in a class, it matters far more that you work harder than it does that you got a poor grade in the first place. Use everything you experience as an opportunity. This can be especially relevant as you apply to colleges – you may have a poor college interview but you have two choices afterward: to mourn that failure, or to figure out how to have a better interview next time.

“My dear terrified graduates, you are about to enter the most uncertain and thrilling period of your lives. The stories you are about to live are the ones you will be telling your children, and grandchildren, and therapists.”

—Lin-Manuel Miranda

This quote is actually from a college graduation, but it fits perfectly for high school.  College can seem intimidating, particularly when you haven’t fully decided on your future path, but regardless, it’s an experience that has an incredible effect on the rest of your life.  Work to get into a college you like and the rest will come to you.

“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

Work hard in school. You may not get straight A’s, and that’s fine – hard work gets you very far. Don’t feel like a less-than-ideal academic record will stop you from achieving your goals.

“A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car, but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.”

—Theodore Roosevelt

You can be successful without college, but how much more can you achieve with knowledge? The more you know, the more you think, the more you do. College is a place of knowledge and you can use that knowledge to reach your wildest dreams.

“To those of you graduates sitting out there who have a pretty good idea of what you’d like to do with your life, congratulations. For many of you who maybe don’t have it all figured out, it’s OK. That’s the same chair that I sat in. Enjoy the process of your search without succumbing to the pressure of the result. Trust your gut, keep throwing darts at the dartboard. Don’t listen to the critics and you will figure it out.”

–Will Ferrell

The only one who can decide the course of your life is you, and you don’t have to know immediately. It can be a beautiful thing to be open to opportunities that present themselves. Take an internship that interests you, volunteer for a cause you’re passionate about, sign up for that course on developmental psychology that looks fun. Don’t feel like you have to lock yourself into a path to gain admission to your dream university – instead focus on embracing opportunities so that the college sees everything you can do when you care!

Keep your head up and keep pushing forward!

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