For adult students, making college work is about more than managing homework and acing assignments; it means navigating the demands of school on top of home and work responsibilities. It can be a tough road, which is why returning to school requires a sustained level of commitment. Scheduling time for studying, working and spending time with family takes creativity, energy and determination. So having a boost, especially in the middle of a busy semester, can help.
These 10 inspirational quotes for college students are worth bookmarking so you can refer back when you need it to help you stay focused through your busy academic year. They're organized around a traditional September through June school calendar––an inspiring quote for each month. Of course, these days, the flexibility of online learning means your school year can be when it works for you, so these quotes can serve to motivate you no matter what your schedule looks like.
September: "Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." — John Dewey
As you begin a busy school year, it helps to clarify your priorities. Classwork and learning are time consuming, but making your education and coursework a priority creates a valuable habit that will continue to serve you well in your professional life. Great employees add value to their organizations by continuing to learn and apply what they've learned in their respective fields.
October: "Education is learning what you didn't even know you didn't know." – Daniel J. Boorstin, Historian
At this point in your coursework, you might be discovering that, as the quote says, you didn't realize what it was that you didn't know. In fact, the Dunning-Kruger effect1 states that those who are just beginning to learn a new skill may believe they're more skilled than they indeed are until they've increased their skill level and become more competent. Returning to school allows for deeper understanding on a subject or topic; you might have some prior experience and understanding, but a great degree program can open the door to additional ideas, concepts and skills you may not have otherwise experienced.
November: "Things don't have to change the world to be important." – Steve Jobs
Though it might not change the world that you've completed a major paper or project, it's important to you and your education. Indeed, you're laying the groundwork to effectively apply what you've learned in your program to a future position––and that can make a difference. Continuing to make your education a priority as you head into a busy season isn't easy, but each action you take toward your degree is important––and integral––to earning it.
December: "The urgent can drown out the important." – Marissa Mayer
December and November are busy months for many people, but for college students, keeping on track at this time can sometimes seem almost impossible. Remember, though, that while the holidays come once a year, your degree program is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Holiday "urgency" to complete all the necessary tasks on your to-do list might pull for your attention, but it helps to keep in mind that a few more weeks of focused study takes precedence to help you reach your long-term goal.
January: "The voice that tells you 'you can't' is usually lying. The one that says you can't do it all at once usually isn't." – Marsha Wright, entrepreneur and influencer
Earning a degree, whether you're returning to school or starting for the first time, takes a marathon mindset. Whether you're deep into your degree program or just a few courses in, when you're fresh from a few weeks break you may be inclined to want to start the new coursework and year in high gear. But keeping a realistic, methodical approach is optimal. Remember to prioritize and not take on too much.
February: "The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character––that is the goal of true education." – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The start of a new quarter or class session is more than underway in February. And cultivating higher-ordered thinking along the way–or the ability to think critically and synthesize information–through diligent study is just one pay-off from earning your degree. But the byproduct of your efforts is increased character. Ask many adult students how they juggled school and other responsibilities and they likely will say it took a lot of work; the experience is a powerful asset to relay to future employers, too.
March: "The richest people in the world look for and build networks. Everyone else looks for work." – Robert Kiyosaki, author
Whether you're looking to move forward in your career or begin a new one, targeting and growing a network is crucial. Whether that's reaching out to your alumni network or attending conferences in your field, it's a good time of year to set the foundation for growing your network. For mid-career professionals who may already have a strong network, updating your LinkedIn profile with a new title, revised summary, completed coursework or expected graduation date can help you find new contacts, increasing your chances of finding the right employment opportunities for you.
April: "Knowledge will bring you the opportunity to make a difference." – Claire Fagin
While a new career path can create increased opportunity for you, the knowledge you gain in doing so can make a difference for others. Whether that's your new client or your family, your investment in your education can have a positive impact.
May: "The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet." – Aristotle
Today we might say, "Hard work pays off." The effort you make to pursue your degree may help you earn more and find more stability for you and your family. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those with a bachelor's degree earn 65% more than those with a high school diploma alone.
June: "The only source of knowledge is experience." — Albert Einstein
A well-rounded degree program provides opportunity for hands-on experience. Whether that's through classroom assignments, projects or externships, experience creates knowledge. Though it might sound hokey, the knowledge you gain in one academic year can be life-changing.
These inspirational quotes for college students can help you stay on course to meet your education goals. Interested in more articles on succeeding in college? Read our College Success blog.
1Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 77(6), Dec. 1999; http://psycnet.apa.org/?&fa=main.doiLanding&doi=10.1037/0022-3518.104.22.1681 (visited April 8, 2015)