Forget writer’s block! One of the most frustrating feelings out there is student’s block; when your mind powers off, all the words on the page blend together, and you can’t seem to carry on.
As a student, I have had times when my brain feels too full to cram anything more inside. Thankfully, people wiser than myself have had a lot to say about learning, about ways to get motivated, and how to turn your inspiration into something rewarding.
I have compiled some of my favorite quotes (73 of them, to be exact!) for students to turn to when they are in need of a little extra inspiration.
This post is all about motivational quotes for students to study hard.
Photo by Thought Catalog
This collection is divided into six helpful sections, specifically for scholars such as yourself. First comes inspiration to work hard, something we all need from time to time.
Then: Overcoming failure, inspiring creativity, dealing with stress, and student life.
Finally, because education gives us the power to create something greater than ourselves, the final section is dedicated to community and positivity.
For my music lovers out there: At the end of each section, you may notice each quote comes from a song.
Find each song lyric, and by the end of the article you’ll have a short playlist for studying, commuting to class, or simply to enjoy!
Being a student is hard work. These quotes, however, will give your mind the motivation it needs to keep studying—who knows, maybe you will even discover a reason to get excited about what you are learning.
Table of Contents:
Motivation to Work hard
Finding the inspiration to go on can be one of the most difficult and ongoing trials of your college career.
It is a demanding point in life: This is typically your first swing at adulthood, coupled with an unprecedented mountain of work—who wouldn’t need some extra motivation?
Photo by Firmbee
- ‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.’ – Aristotle
Aristotle could not have summed it up more perfectly. Instead of thinking we are either exceptional or unexceptional, having a growth mindset—believing positive qualities are earned through work—can make us better students, and better people.
2. ‘Today is not just another ordinary day. It is an opportunity to do, or say, something that just might inspire someone to greater becoming.’ – T. F Hodge
Education can be a powerful tool when applied; who knows, maybe the assignment you are laboring over tonight could be an inspiration for somebody tomorrow!
- ‘Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.’ – T. S Eliot
There is no ceiling on how determined you can be, or, for what matter, what one can achieve with a little bit of ambition and focus.
- ‘Sometimes things can be possible if we want them bad enough.’ – T. S Eliot
I could not pass up the opportunity to share another quote from Eliot. As usual, he’s right: You determine your reality, so bring the things you want into being.
- ‘We cannot become what we want by remaining what we are.’ – Max De Pree
Like most worthwhile things, changing can be intimidating. A caterpillar cannot stay a caterpillar; you can only become who you want to be by evolving.
- ‘Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.’ – Walter H. Cottingham
Everyone is intelligent in their own way, so whether you consider yourself foolish (I know I do, from time to time) or not, this reminder is for you.
Once you find a passion, a talent, or an interest, your purpose is to expand on it.
- ‘We know what we are, but we know not what we may be.’ – William Shakespeare
The words of the immortal bard have inspired scholars for centuries. This quote from Hamlet reminds us that our potential is without limit, so chase it!
- ‘Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.’ – Tim Note
Made famous by Kevin Durant, this snippet of wisdom says everything in nine short words. Nothing is out of reach when you put in the effort, so don’t let the lazy talent-holders of the world intimidate you.
- ‘There are two things in life you are in total control over are your attitude and your effort.’ – Billy Cox
There is so much, especially at school, that we can’t control. Take it from a student of COVID: suddenly I was moving across countries, adapting to virtual classes (something I am sure very few of us miss), and not knowing what tomorrow would look like.
Through the chaos that is student life, you always have control over your outlook and the work you put into your studies.
- ‘I don’t like to doze by the fire. I like adventures, and I am going to find some.’ – Louisa May Alcott
I believe this is the only quotation in this collection which comes from a fictional character, but Jo March is a figure who is hard to erase.
We could learn a lot from her, too: Don’t just sit by the fire (or behind your phone screen), make the most of being young and adventurous!
Photo by GeoJango
- ‘I was born for something greater than I was—and greater I would become.’ – Mary Shelley
Solemn words, and they pack a punch. What better way to become something greater than to strengthen your mind?
- ‘Oh, it’s delightful to have ambitions. I’m so glad I have such a lot. And there never seems to be any end to them—that’s the best of it. Just as soon as you attain one ambition you see another one glittering higher up still. It does make life so interesting.’ – L. M Montgomery
Ambition doesn’t have to be all caffeine and rage—though there is nothing more effective in fueling an all-nighter—, it can be beautiful, too.
- ‘I’m a shooting star leaping through the sky like a tiger, defying the laws of gravity. I’m a racing car passing by like Lady Godiva – I’m gonna go, go, go, there’s no stopping me.’ -Freddy Mercury, ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’
If this list gives you the push you needed to hit those books, you can check out BLENDtw’s other articles on studying, whether it’s for final exams, taking notes, or even books about the practice of studying.
You have arrived at my personal favorite section, which I curated to give you some heart and soul.
Whether you are searching for something to unblock those creative juices, or you are simply in need of some poetry, this section is for the creative minds out there.
All students need innovative energy, at the end of the day.
Photo by Anna Kolosyuk
- ‘Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.’ – Franz Kafka
Whether your obsession is academic success, true crime podcasts, or Victorian lampshades, don’t shy away! Embrace those things that make you feel most alive.
- ‘Creativity takes courage.’ – Henri Matisse
Three simple words, and very true. It can be hard to do what others are not doing; being creative in spite of it all is a sign of bravery.
- ‘Normality is a paved road; it’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.’ – Vincent van Gogh
This collection would not be complete without this classic from van Gogh. A reminder that some of the most beautiful things in life can only be found off the beaten path.
- ‘I will not be another flower, picked for my beauty and left to die. I will be wild, difficult to find, and impossible to forget.’ – Erin van Vuren
Another pointer to flowers; do I sense a theme? It makes sense that flowers should inspire creativity: Flowers are not only pretty—each is unique.
Photo by Anthony Fomin
- ‘Understand me. I’m not like an ordinary world. I have my madness, I live in another dimension and I do not have time for things that have no soul.’ – Charles Bukowski
Luckily, as students we are less likely to encounter subject matter that ‘has no soul.’ The knowledge your professors share, the major you choose, and the classes you take hold the potential to enrich your life and soul.
- ‘It is not madness. It is an effort to transcend the rigidities and the patterns made by the rational mind.’ – Anais Nin
Some people call it madness, some people call it transcendence. There will always be those who don’t understand your unique style of genius; grow your passions in spite of them.
- ‘Stars are not small or gentle. They are writhing and dying and burning. They are not here to be pretty. I am trying to learn from them.’ – Caitlyn Siehl
I know very well how hard it can be to see beyond the superficial. Sometimes I forget my goal in class is to learn, and not to be wearing the best outfit. Being well-dressed is one thing, but there is so much more to discover about one’s self beyond what is on the surface.
- ‘Art and love are the same thing: It’s the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you.’ – Chuck Klosterman
Why not try approaching those reading assignments with a little love? Beyond the puzzles of academic writing, there are usually human stories to be found, or something to learn about yourself through something outside your own being.
- ‘Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.’ – Albert Einstein
Who would want to move predictably, when one could go everywhere? I included this quote as a reminder that progress does not have to be linear; the most worthwhile adventures often come from the unexpected.
- ‘You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.’ – Oscar Wilde
Creativity is a renewable resource! So don’t be stingy with it—flex those creative muscles whenever you get the chance.
- ‘The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.’ – Sylvia Plath
When you do not trust yourself, it is difficult to create. This goes for artistic endeavors, but it also applies to any academic writing or schoolwork. Self-doubt only pollutes your work, so trust in your own knowledge and skill.
- ‘To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.’ – Osho
Talk about a worthwhile mission: Being in love with life. I think of love as a verb (thank you, bell hooks), and an essential part of that action is creativity. Human beings have always shown gratitude for being alive through art, music, writing, and beauty; creation is as vital and natural as breathing.
- ‘Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand. With an equal opportunity for all to sing, dance and clap their hands.’ – Stevie Wonder
Photo by Marius Masalar
Nobody gets everything right the first time. Sometimes not even the second, or third. As a student, we experience setback after setback throughout our college careers.
And boy, is it brutal! However, there are few obstacles which cannot be overcome, or failures which cannot be learned from.
With a little motivation, hopefully you will be able to bounce back from whatever is holding you down.
- ‘Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: The last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.’ – Viktor E. Frankl
College can be a time of feeling powerless. What cannot be taken from you, however, is your outlook. Perspective is a powerful tool; when used correctly, it can brighten any situation.
- ‘It is not until you change your identity to match your life blueprint that you will understand why everything in the past never worked.’ – Shannon L. Adler
Okay, okay, maybe you are not able to flee the country and commit fully to your alter ego every time you get a less-than-perfect exam score, but this advice rings true.
What Shannon Adler is saying is you must become the sort of person with the capacity to achieve all you want to achieve, and live the lifestyle you want to live.
- ‘When teachers doubt your potential, show them how wrong they truly are.’ – Ace Antonio Hall
I have had my fair share of professors who simply did not mesh with my style of learning, which can be one of the most frustrating obstacles in college.
Nothing is more rewarding, then, than proving yourself in spite of them.
- ‘You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.’ -C.S Lewis
If I had a time machine, there are a million things I would change, starting with telling my past self not to register for a select few of these classes.
No matter how badly I wish I could drop Economics, that is not within my reach at the moment. What is possible, however, is finishing out the class the right way—by working hard and staying motivated.
- ‘If you push through that feeling of being scared, that feeling of taking a risk, really amazing things can happen.’ – Marrisa Mayer
‘That feeling of being scared’ is all too familiar, and I find it only fades or evolves, rather than disappears, the deeper into university you go.
But take it from a self-identified risk-taker: The best parts of my life have been earned just beyond that feeling of fear. It is okay to be scared, of course, but it is better not to let that feeling rule your choices.
- ‘But we cannot simply sit and stare at our wounds forever.’ – Haruki Murakami
This quote brings a quiet sort of peace. It does not forbid sitting, or staring at one’s wounds for a short time, but offers a gentle reminder that this is not a permanent solution.
So sit, if you must, and nurse your wounds, but get up eventually.
- ‘We are all ordinary. We are all boring. We are all shy. We are all bold. We are all heroes. We are all helpless. It just depends on the day.’ – Brad Meltzer
There is no such thing as categories of people. We are all ordinary and extraordinary—the difference, usually, is the moment we are in. With this in mind, remember that a few setbacks or failures do not define who you are in the big picture.
- ‘The darker the night, the brighter the stars!’ – Appollon Maykov
I could not help but insert some outright positivity here. And why not! In your lowest moments, the parts of your life that matter most—maybe it is your friends, your family, your dog—are there to offer the most love and support.
- ‘I am interested in what Flannery O’Connor called a ‘moment of grace’: The point where people are forced to make a decision that either enables them to transcend a circumstance or succumb to it.’ – Simon Joyner
Speaking of perspective, why not consider your low points not as obstacles, rather, ‘moments of grace’? This is a crossroads, or better yet an opportunity to grow beyond a trial.
- ‘Success is not in what you have, but who you are.’ – Bo Bennett
Our reactions to failure define us more than our tangible achievements. Missing out on an opportunity is disappointing, to be sure, but opens up a chance to evolve.
- ‘Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’ – Samuel Beckett
Beckett was a great—perhaps the greatest—author of failure and what it entails. I read this as a call for persistence: Even if you are failing a second time, the resistance against giving up gives you wisdom, if not immediate success.
- ‘I’m a Survivor, I’m not gon’ give up, I’m not gon’ stop, I’m gon’ work harder.’ – Destiny’s Child
Dealing with stress:
The emotion which has been most consistent throughout my time in college is, unfortunately, stress. In your campus bubble, every problem can seem like catastrophe!
Thankfully, our problems are very seldom as big as we make them to be in our mind.
Great minds have been coaching anxiety-ridden students for years on how do deal with the perpetual panic most of us feel; often, the solution starts with lowering those stress levels.
- ‘When you consider things like the stars, our affairs don’t seem to matter very much, do they?’ – Virginia Woolf
As we enter this more anxiety-filled area of the article, I thought a healthy amount of perspective could do us some good. Zooming out, our little problems seem small up against the vast expanse of the universe.
Whatever you are going through, remember: It’s not the end of the world!
- ‘One day you will tell your story of how you overcame what you went through and it will be someone else’s survival guide.’ – Brene Brown
Try observing this point of struggle in reverse; this will all be a story someday, so don’t invest in extra misery by sweating the details.
- ‘I will breathe. I will think of solutions. I will not let my worry control me. I will not let my stress level break me. I will simply breathe. And it will be okay. Because I don’t quit.’ – Shayne Mcclendon
Everybody needs a mantra or affirmation from time to time. Try saying this in front of your mirror when the water seems to be rising too high.
- ‘Just when you feel you have no time to relax, know that this is the moment you most need to make time to relax.’ – Matt Haig
We can only be powerful as long as we are nourished! Your body and mind are muscles—to be used, yes, but also to be rested and taken care of.
As counterproductive as it may seem in moments of anxiety, prioritizing relaxation is crucial. In fact, BLENDtw has an entire compilation of self-care quotes to remind you to ensure your hierarchy of needs is fulfilled.
Photo by Drew Jemmett
- ‘Why worry? If you’ve done the very best you can, worrying doesn’t make it any better.’ -Walt Disney
Stress can be productive, yes, when it has the power to motivate. However, many things are beyond our control.
It is important to recognize once something is out of your hands; that is the moment to breathe, put it out of your mind, and call your friends for some good old-fashioned distraction.
- ‘The big, bad unknown is only that until it is known. Then you look back and wonder what all the fuss and worry was about.’ – S. A. Tawks
Here is another reminder to zoom out, see the big picture, and maybe cut down on the worries which are not productive.
- ‘If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.’ – Amit Ray
Interestingly, this is our second reminder in this compilation to breathe. It is a simple but potent cure against anxiety; our breath connects us to our body, as well as feeds the mind. So stay centered and take some deep breaths.
- ‘Scared is what you’re feeling. Brave is what you’re doing.’ – Emma Donoghue
As we saw in the section on overcoming failure, there is a real difference between what you do and the way you feel.
When dealing with stress, it is the action that matters most. Though you may feel the negativity of stress and fear, the steps you take in spite of all it are monumental.
- ‘My body needs laughter as much as it needs tears. Both are cleansers of stress.’ – Mahogany Silverrain
Not wanting to suggest you suppress all this negativity, I included this nugget of wisdom as a reminder that one must allow themselves to feel.
Unfortunately it is not possible to put your head down and power through everything; a good cry session can work as well as medicine.
- ‘A day of worrying is more exhausting than a day of work.’ – John Lubbock
After you have had that cry sesh, it could be time to put aside those worries and get to work. Try channeling your stress into productive outlets: don’t fixate on the due date, just focus on the next piece of the puzzle.
- ‘You will never be able to experience everything. So, please, do poetical justice to your soul and simply experience yourself.’ – Albert Camus
A huge source of stress can be the fear you’re not doing enough. Not to worry: your only job is to exist and experience.
- ‘Ain’t got no cash, ain’t got no style, ain’t got no girl to make you smile? Don’t worry, be happy.’ – Bobby McFerin
People have been students for thousands of years. Living off of ramen may have shrunk our memories a bit, and we can forget to appreciate the romance of being a scholar.
Getting lost in piles of books, spending a day learning and writing, and living as a student makes us part of a long tradition of academia.
While this era may only last a few years for the majority of students, appreciating the history and aesthetics of a scholarly lifestyle can enrich each of those years.
Photo by Clarisse Meyer
- ‘Do question, even the basics!
You will be a fool for once!
If you don’t, you will be, for a lifetime.’ – Himmilicious
It is an appealing thought, being the smartest in the class from day one. What is more valuable than natural knowledge, however, is openness to learning, asking questions, and even looking foolish from time to time.
- ‘Books are the mirrors to the soul.’ – Virginia Woolf
Books can be more than instruments of cruel and unusual punishment. Without the weight of assignments attached, books are in themselves very human.
They reflect experience and emotion, as well as knowledge.
- ‘I will cut adrift—I will sit on pavements and drink coffee—I will dream; I will take my mind out of its iron cage and let it swim.’ – Virginia Woolf
Another Virginia Woolf quote—sue me. I couldn’t resist; this is a perfect articulation of the romantic side of being a student. Why not revel in it a bit?
- ‘Study hard what interests you most in the most undisciplined, irreverent, and original manner possible.’ – Richard Feynmann
‘Studying hard’ does not have to mean intense boredom. When you are able to find passion for your subject matter, you create room for something radical.
- ‘You are always a student, never a master. You have to keep moving forward.’ – Conrad Hall
Even after getting a degree, there is always more to learn. So think of yourself as a perpetual student; the best learners are committed to the role for a lifetime.
- ‘The capacity to learn is a gift, the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice.’ – Brain Herbert
By entering university, you have proven you hold capacity and ability to learn, but the choice to learn is ongoing. Keep choosing your education—you’re two-thirds there!
- ‘I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it.’ – Vincent van Gogh
Nobody pops into this world as a master of all trades. If you want to be good at something or learn a new skill, that means trying something new at the risk of being less-than-competent on the first go.
- ‘I have lived a thousand lives and I have loved a thousand loves. I’ve walked on distant worlds and seen the end of time. Because I read.’ – George R. R. Martin
If I have not convinced you to romanticize your readings, take it from the author of A Game of Thrones instead.
He offers an enticing deal—why settle for one life, when you could experience many?
Photo by Annie Spratt
- ‘Study hard, for the well is deep, and our brains are shallow.’ – Richard Baxter
A grueling lecture can leave your brain feeling more shallow than usual. Thankfully, every student has as much capacity to hold information as they have a will to study and review.
- ‘Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.’ – Mahatma Gandhi
You may not be able to rely on much in this life—money comes and goes, as do people—, but one thing you can always carry with you is knowledge.
When you create a mind you can live in and rely on, you will never be left without resources.
- ‘The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, and all the sweet serenity of books.’ – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
This rhyme offers us a peaceful reminder to pick up those books, curl up in a quiet corner, and get lost between the pages.
- ‘It’s a thousand pages, give or take a few. I’ll be writing more in a week or two. I can make it longer if you like the style. I can change it ‘round and I want to be a paperback writer.’ – The Beatles
Community and positivity:
As you are making your way through piles and piles of work, you may think, ‘what’s the point?’
There is hardly a more discouraging question, but luckily there are a multitude of answers. Your education is a forceful thing—not only to make a better life to yourself, but as a means to help others.
It is easy to become discouraged within our own narrow mindsets; look outward then, and learn not only for yourself but for those who do not have the same opportunities or unique set of skills.
Photo by Hannah Busing
- ‘If it is true there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.’ – Leo Tolstoy
The quote from Anna Karenina is the perfect opener to this section: The way each person shows they care is completely unique. Try finding out about the kinds of heart inside the people you love, as well as your own!
- ‘Surround yourself with people who believe in your dreams, encourage your ideas, support your ambitions, and bring out the best in you.’ – Roy T. Bennett
Community can give us everything, in life and in university. Don’t surround yourself with people who drag you down; find those who bring out the best in you.
- ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.’ – Toni Morrison
Assignments and deadlines can be existentially discouraging. You may find the motivation to go on, however, when you envision the ways this education can serve as a powerful tool not just to yourself, but to your community and those you love.
- ‘I dwell in possibility.’ – Emily Dickinson
Instead of hyperfocusing on let-downs and high expectations, inhabiting a hopeful mindset can keep things in perspective.
- ‘The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise.’ – Maya Angelou
There is certainly nothing wrong with ambition. Alongside those grand goals, however, have the wisdom to improve the lives of those around you, as well as your own.
- ‘Never cut what you can unite.’ – Robert Frost
Since we are all relatively untested in the world, college can be a cutthroat time of ladder-climbing and kissing up to the professor.
More important than the academic food chain is learning to bring people together, rather than tearing down the competition.
- ‘In people’s lives I want to be that which does not hurt.’ – Marina Tsvetayeva, in a letter to Rainer Maria Rilke
This is a noble aspiration, put very simply. If you do not feel you have enough positivity within you to spread goodness actively, it can be enough to be a neutral, non judgemental, or gentle presence in someone’s life.
- ‘Never trust your fears. They don’t know your strength.’ – Athena Singh
We tend to think we are a compilation of the worst parts of ourselves: Fear, self-doubt, or the way we behave on bad days.
What most people take for granted, however, are all the impressive and positive qualities they have—it is with these traits progress can be created.
- ‘I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.’ – Mother Teresa
Your minute choices may not seem to make much of an impact at first glance. But never underestimate the power of a butterfly effect; a good deed, even small, can make a huge impact.
- ‘Document the moments you feel most in love with yourself—what you’re wearing, who you’re around, what you’re doing. Recreate and repeat.’ – Warsan Shire
Good advice! Try to preserve what you most admire about yourself in the moments when you are at your best. Hang onto those moments for when you need them most.
- ‘When joy is a habit, love is a reflex.’ – Bob Goff
Being a positive member of your community does not have to be a chore; loving those near you becomes more and more natural the more you practice it.
- ‘Now I may have faith to make mountains fall, but if I lack love then I am nothing at all. I can give away everything I possess, but left without love, then I have no happiness.’– Ms. Lauryn Hill
Final Thoughts on Motivational Quotes for Students to Study Hard
Whether you found motivation from one or two sections, or you made it through all 73 quotes, this compilation has a lot to offer in the way of wisdom.
Don’t be shy—feel free to revisit a section when the stress starts building again, when you need a reminder of why you started this degree in the first place, if you are in need of motivational quotes to study harder, or simply some words of encouragement.
Do you need more motivation? Check out the video below.
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