99 Motivational Quotes for Students When Things Get Hard

As a former mathematics teacher, I have spent a lot of time and energy motivating students. I’ve helped struggling students see the value of hard work, and I’ve inspired students to develop a growth mindset that will help them overcome life’s failures.

School is overwhelming and full of high stress situations. On top of that, balancing homework, a part-time job, and a social life can make things even more challenging for students. Managing these demands requires effective time management, resilience, and a positive attitude.

Throughout my career as a teacher, I saw firsthand how the pressures of school can weigh heavily on students and affect their performance and well-being. However, with the right support and strategies, students can navigate these challenges successfully.

One of the most powerful tools for motivation that I used with my students was inspirational quotes. I have put together a collection of 99 motivational quotes for students that I used throughout my career to help encourage students to stay motivated when things get tough.

Whether you are a senior or a freshman, this collection of motivational quotes will help you stay focused, overcome obstacles, and keep moving forward toward your goals!

Encouragement From a Former Teacher

If you are a student looking for motivation, I want to share a few words of encouragement from my time as a teacher.

During my time in the classroom, I saw how limiting beliefs can hold students back from achieving their true potential. Every year I saw groups of students doubting their abilities while fixating on grades as the sole measure of their worth. But the truth is that true success begins with a mindset shift.

One of the things I worked hard to teach my students was the power of a growth mindset. A growth mindset is the belief that your abilities can be developed through dedication and effort.

two students working on a paper

When you have a growth mindset, you understand that it’s okay to face challenges and make mistakes. Every failure we encounter is just an opportunity to grow and learn. Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from stepping outside your comfort zone and exploring your interests or pursuing your dreams. Your worth isn’t defined by a number or a letter on a report card.

Instead, I always encouraged my students to focus on what ignites their passion. When you discover what you truly enjoy and dive deep into it, learning becomes a journey filled with curiosity and excitement rather than a chore.

I have watched countless students’ grades naturally improve once they became engaged and motivated by what they are studying. Pursuing a life of passion and purpose not only enhances your academic performance but will also help you find a deeper sense of meaning and fulfilment throughout the rest of your life after school!

99 Motivational Quotes for Students When Things Get Hard

Let’s dig into this list of inspirational quotes from the great minds of successful people throughout history. As you read these quotes, remember that many of these figures were ordinary people who became great people through the hard work and determination they applied to their pursuits. You have the potential to achieve greatness also by embracing their wisdom and applying it to your own life!

  1. “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” – Abraham Lincoln
  2. “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein
  3. “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up.” – Vince Lombardi
  4. “Your time is limited, do not waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Do not let the noise of others’ opinions drown your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs
  5. “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky
  6. “The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” – Mark Zuckerberg
  7. “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt
  8. “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
  9. “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell
  10. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela
  11. “Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
  12. “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” – Helen Keller
  13. “Success isn’t overnight. It’s when everyday you get a little better than the day before. It all adds up.” – Dwayne Johnson
  14. “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” - Maya Angelou

Motivational Quotes for Student Success

  1. “You cannot use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” – Maya Angelou
  2. “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
  3. “However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.” – Stephen Hawking
  4. “True education is about getting the best out of oneself.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  5. “Never let the fear of striking out stop you from playing the game.” – Babe Ruth
  6. “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney
  7. “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas A. Edison
  8. “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” – Mother Teresa
  9. “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  10. “Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it.” – Stephen Hawking
  11. “There are two kinds of people in this world: those who want to get things done and those who do not want to make mistakes.” – John Maxwell
  12. “When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.” – Elon Musk
  13. “Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying ‘I will try again tomorrow.'” – Mary Anne Radmacher
  14. “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” – Thomas A. Edison
  15. “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou
  16. “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan
  17. “The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.” – Leonardo da Vinci
  18. “I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun.” – Thomas A. Edison
  19. “One of the greatest discoveries a person makes, one of their great surprises, is to find they can do what they were afraid they couldn’t do.” – Henry Ford
“One of the greatest discoveries a person makes, one of their great surprises, is to find they can do what they were afraid they couldn't do.” - Henry Ford

Motivational Study Quotes

  1. “The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” – Bruce Lee
  2. “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” – Albert Einstein
  3. “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney
  4. “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn” – Benjamin Franklin
  5. “Learning is not done to you, it is something you choose to do.” – Seth Godin
  6. “Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets.” – Leonardo da Vinci
  7. “Action is the foundational key to all success.” – Pablo Picasso
  8. “Preparation is the key to success.” – Alexander Graham Bell
  9. “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” – Audrey Hepburn
  10. “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” – Zig Ziglar
  11. “Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” – John D. Rockefeller
  12. “Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, you can achieve.” – Mary Kay Ash
  13. “The expert in anything was once a beginner.” – Helen Hayes
  14. “Learn from yesterday. Live for today. Hope for tomorrow.” – Albert Einstein
  15. “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” – Jim Ryun
  16. “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
  17. “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
  18. “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” – Mark Twain
  19. “The future depends on what we do in the present.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  20. “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” – Malcolm X
  21. “The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be ignited.” – Plutarch
  22. “Procrastination makes easy things hard and hard things harder.” – Mason Cooley
“Procrastination makes easy things hard and hard things harder.” - mason cooley

Hustle Quotes About Hard Work

  1. “Genius is 10% inspiration, 90% perspiration.” – Thomas Edison
  2. “I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” – Thomas Jefferson
  3. “We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.” – Maya Angelou
  4. “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.” – Vince Lombardi
  5. “There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.” – Zig Ziglar
  6. “Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.” – Albert Einstein
  7. “The man who does not read books has no advantage over the one who cannot read them.” – Mark Twain
  8. “You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.” – Babe Ruth
  9. “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” – Helen Keller
  10. “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack in will.” – Vince Lombardi
  11. “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” – Michael Jordan
  12. “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” – Winston Churchill
  13. “Failure after long perseverance is much grander than never to have a striving good enough to be called a failure.” – George Eliot
  14. “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” – Stephen King
  15. “There are no traffic jams on the extra mile.” – Zig Ziglar
  16. “I think it is possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary.” – Elon Musk
  17. “Inherently, each of us has the substance within to achieve whatever our goals and dreams define. What is missing from each of us is the training, education, knowledge and insight, to utilize what we already have.” – Mark Twain
  18. “Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.” – Thomas Edison
  19. “Quality is more important than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.” – Steve Jobs
  20. “Well done is better than well said.”- Benjamin Franklin
  21. 10. “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” – Muhammad Ali
  22. “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” – Robert Collier
  23. “Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.” – Newt Gingrich

The Best Motivational Quotes for Students

  1. “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” – George Bernard Shaw
  2.  “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi 
  3. “Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” – Henry Ford
  4. “Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.” – Oscar Wilde
  5. “Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.” – Oprah Winfrey
  6. “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” – Muhammad Ali
  7. “Champions keep playing until they get it right.” – Billie Jean King
  8. “Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” – Norman Vincent Peale
  9. “Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.” – John Maxwell
  10. “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” – William James
  11. ”The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.” – B.B. King
  12. “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” – Oscar Wilde
  13. “Not everything of value in life comes from books- experience the world.” – Thomas Edison
  14. “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” – Henry Ford
  15. “The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” – Oprah Winfrey
  16. “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs
  17. “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other one thing.” – Abraham Lincoln
  18. “The person who fails the most wins. Because if you’re not failing, then you’re not trying hard enough or taking enough risks.” – Seth Godin
  19. “Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden
  20. “He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.” – Chinese proverb
  21. “If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit.” – Banksy

How to Use These Motivational Quotes

There are so many ways to use the words of wisdom that come from these positive quotes to stay focused on your goals during your time as a student. 

One approach is to create a quote journal where you write down quotes about the important things in life that resonate with you. I still do this in my post-teaching life in my favorite journal. This practice has helped me navigate through many challenges with clarity and purpose.

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Another great way to use these quotes is to set daily quote reminders. Choose quotes that emphasize the importance of taking the first step and focusing on the sum of small efforts. Use them as daily reminders on your phone or on sticky notes to keep you motivated and maintain focus throughout your day.

Your path is unique and so is your timeline. Trust yourself and follow what excites you. Let your interests guide your learning. The most important thing I can share with you is that when you develop a passion for learning first, everything else, including your grades, falls into place. Stay curious, stay persistent, and believe in your ability to achieve great things and do great work.

Don’t forget to share this post with your good friends and family on social media! If you know a student who could use inspirational quotes to help them stay motivated, this post could be just what they need!


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