When graduation time comes around, there’s tons of advice out on the internet for recent grads. But where do some of the biggest inspirations come from when it comes to the future? Famous movie quotes, of course.
Movies are a big part of our cultural identity, and this is why it’s no surprise we look for inspiration in quotes and moments from all those famous films. Still, when it comes to college graduation, some top quotes mean to inspire you to reach for the stars.
Here are 15 pieces of advice taken directly from our favorite movie quotes and only partially out of context.
The Top 15 College Graduation Movie Quotes
1. “Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” –The Wizard of Oz
Just as college was a big step up from high school, so too is the “real world” a big step up from college. You’re going to look around often and not recognize where you are or, sometimes, even who you are.
And y’know what? That’s OK. That’s how we get to know our “adult” selves and plan to take on the world.
2. “Just keep swimming.” –Little Nemo
Perhaps the perfect response to the first quote. No matter how difficult life gets, you’ll be surprised by just how much you can handle as long as you keep swimming.
3. “You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya punk?” –Dirty Harry
You’re inevitably going to find yourself in a tough spot once or twice, and sometimes you’ll have to let luck decide the outcome. Whether you win or lose, you’ll have to roll with it.
4. “Show me the money!” –Jerry Maguire
You’ve worked your ass off to graduate. Now it’s time for your investment to pay off. Stack your resume with all your accomplishments, walk that stage at graduation, and impress those hiring managers at all your interviews.
After that, the money will be rolling in.
5. “Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” –Dead Poets Society
This is as self-explanatory as any quote can be. Success will not fall into your lap. You have to take what you want.
6. Helen Parr: “Everyone is special, Dash.”
Dash: “That’s just another way of saying no one is.” –The Incredibles
On the surface, this looks like a demotivational quote, but let’s flip the construct around. You’re going to meet a lot of talented people from all walks of life. You’re going to feel small sometimes.
Don’t panic. No matter how gifted someone might be, they don’t have the ingredients that make you special. You got yourself to this point, so you’re pretty damn amazing.
7. “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” –The Wizard of Oz
From the only dual-entrant on the list. There’s a lot you will not be able to control in life. All you can do is focus on what you can control and the things that make you happy.
8. “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” –Jaws
Even the greatest among us face challenges beyond our abilities. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether it’s with a task or with your life. You’ll be surprised how many people have walked in your shoes and can offer advice on how to navigate certain situations.
Reach out to people you trusts or mentors who have your best interest at heart, and don’t forget, we’ve all been there.
9. “I don’t want to survive. I want to live.” –12 Years a Slave
Perhaps the most poignant quote on this list, and you can bend it any way you see fit. There’s a big difference between surviving and living.
Are you going to try and get by, or will you take advantage of all that this world has to offer?
10. “I am Groot.” –Guardians of the Galaxy
You heard the…tree.
11. “Just because I cannot see it, doesn’t mean I can’t believe it!” -The Nightmare Before Christmas
Your dreams are going to be elusive, and sometimes they’ll be so elusive you won’t even be able to see them. Don’t let those moments shake your belief in yourself.
12. “Do, or do not. There is no try.” –The Empire Strikes Back
Yoda’s famous mantra. If you’re going to do something, do it. Don’t hold anything back.
13. “Don’t ever let somebody tell you you can’t do something, not even me. Alright? 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.” –The Pursuit of Happyness
It’s an unfortunate truth that you’ll encounter people who only want to tell you what they think you’re worth (spoiler: it’s not much). Don’t let them stand in your way — ever.
14. “It is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices.” –Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Even if you’re the most talented person in your field or the most talented person in the whole world even, no one is going to like you if you’re a jerk. Don’t just do well, do good.
15. “Why so serious?” –The Dark Knight
The most important lesson: have fun.
Let’s be honest, not all movies have fun college graduation quotes. But with a bit of imagination and a lot of inspiration, these can keep you moving forward even when the real world gets overwhelming.