It’s graduation season, which means plenty of advice from people who probably shouldn’t be lending guidance to anyone.
Initially, we were going to consult Twitter to help give grads a proper sendoff into the real world – the “graduation advice in 5 words” hashtag was a good time – but then we thought it would be better to call in the heavy hitters.
Here are 15 pieces of advice taken directly, and only partially out of context, from our favorite movie quotes.
1. “Toto, I’ve 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 a lot of times and not recognize where you are – and sometimes even who you are.
And y’know what? That’s OK.
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
It’s inevitable that you’re going to find yourself in a tough spot once or twice, and sometimes you’ll just 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. Go get that paper!
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 go 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 in 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. At the end of the day, 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.
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 just try and get by, or are you going to 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.