Inspiring Quotes for College Students

By Bailey Werner on February, 9 2021

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Inspiring Quotes for College Students

Words have power. The best ones keep you thinking long after they’ve been said. They can go so far as changing the way you feel and completely flipping your perspective on a situation.

As a college student, sometimes all it takes is a few words to get you through the day, whether it’s words of encouragement or words of advice. Who better to give that advice and encouragement than some of history’s greatest minds? If you’re stressing out over finals or struggling to get up for morning classes, these quotes are sure to inspire you on your college journey.

“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” — John D. Rockefeller

Our first quote is by John D. Rockefeller, an American business magnate and one of the richest people in modern history (if that doesn’t convince you to take his advice, I don’t know what will)!

You’re making the right choice, going to college. Sure, you don’t need a degree to get a job. However, recent studies show that college graduates earn a median of $17,500 more yearly and $1 million more over their lifetime than those with only a high school degree. Yes, college is a risk, but it’s a risk worth taking, so keep chasing your dreams and earn that degree!

 “The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg — not smashing it.” — Arnold Glasow

Great advice, hard to follow. Don’t rush through college. You don’t have to graduate early. Depending on the classes you take and whether you switch your major, it could take you an extra year… or three. Instead, focus on making your time at FHSU meaningful. Work hard on assignments. Join clubs and activities. Take it all in. When it comes to college, it’s as much the journey as the destination.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” — Mark Twain

This quote will completely change the way you tackle schoolwork. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a large assignment, try breaking it into bite-sized chunks. Today I’ll write 300 words. In a week I’ll have the rough draft. Once, you’ve started working down a checklist, you won’t want to stop!

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” — Pelé

This quote perfectly summarizes college and what it takes to graduate. If your goal is earning a degree, find what you love and pour your whole heart into it! You’ll sure feel successful when you walk across that stage on graduation day.

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again. This time more intelligently.” — Henry Ford

I love this quote, mostly because it makes me feel better about all the times I’ve goofed something up. Failing a quiz, or even a class, isn’t the end of the world. At the very least you’ve gained experience. Go into the next one better prepared and with even more enthusiasm!

“Teachers can open the door, but you must enter it yourself.” — Chinese proverb

This one is a general piece of advice rather than a quote from a specific person, but it fits perfectly on this list. In college, you have the opportunity to grow, but only if you’re willing. It’s your job to go to class and do the work, not your teachers’. As long as you’re open to learning, the opportunity is there.

"For what it's worth... it's never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of, and if you're not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again." — F. Scott Fitzgerald

This is a long one, but it’s one of my all-time favorites. The quote (by the author of The Great Gatsby) inspires you to live life to the fullest. Follow your passions and take risks. College is a great start, and you’ve already met all kinds of people. If things aren’t working out, you can always switch your major, or join a new club. What’s important is to keep dreaming.

"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." — Thomas A. Edison

This guy perfected the lightbulb, so I’d say he’s pretty bright. Puns aside, according to, as many as 40% of undergraduate students in the United States drop out of college! If only they had stuck it out and earned their degree, those people would have realized how fast college flies by. Never give up! You could be on the brink of success.

"Much of the stress that people feel doesn't come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they've started." — David Allen

Finals week always feels like the world is ending. Unless you’re an extremely good multitasker, you can’t handle everything at once. Focus on just one thing at a time. Once you’ve checked it off, move onto the next task. Letting your worries stack up in the back of your mind rather than addressing them as they come is always a recipe for disaster.

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” — Robert Collier.

College is like a racetrack. Go to classes, do your homework, study for the exam. You keep going in this pattern, around and around. Sooner or later it might start wearing on you. Luckily, the finish line is in sight, and each day is another step forward. Let every semester be its own little victory and every year count towards a winning streak. True success comes when you tally it all together and take home that degree.

“There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid you will succeed.” — Ray Goforth.

This quote focuses on drowning out the haters. You came to college for a reason: to make a difference. The only person who can stop you is you. Don’t let anyone tell you who you can or can’t be.

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be ignited.” — Plutarch

This final quote is one I feel every college student should hear. Written by a Greek philosopher born in the 1st century, I can safely say this is the oldest piece of advice on this list. Remember that your time in college is about more than cramming your head with knowledge. It’s about igniting your passion. Study what interests you. Earn a degree in a field you can make a living doing what you love. Challenge yourself. Find what ignites your soul and the future is bright.

I hope you take these quotes as more than just words. Maybe they’ve even changed your perspective on college. If you’re feeling inspired, spread the word! You never know, something you say could make all the difference!


Bailey Werner

Mild-mannered student by day, writer by night... but typically by day, I’m Bailey Werner, current junior and graphic design major at Fort Hays State University. With a passion for storytelling that stemmed from 3rd grade writing hour, I’ve been crafting worlds and characters as a hobby for over a decade. Now, as a part-time content creator for the school, I’m living out my dream of writing professionally. If I’m not in my room reading, gaming, or making art, you can find me at the lake. I strongly believe in the power of storytelling, and I’ll continue to use my writing skills after graduation, in my work as a graphic designer.


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