Quote "You won’t always be motivated, so you must learn to be disciplined.” Alexandra Markin

50 Study Motivation Quotes for Student Success

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Last Updated on March 31, 2024 by Alexandra Markin

No matter where you are in your education journey – just starting college, studying for finals or about to graduate, being a student can be stressful. When you feel the need for an inspirational boost, this roundup of the 50 best study motivation quotes will help transform every study session into a step closer to achieving your goals.

A 2022 study published by The International Journal of Linguistics Studies (IJLS) confirms that quotes “can be meaningful and powerful in shaping our thoughts.” So hang that quote above your desk, pin it to your Pinterest board and save it as your phone’s wallpaper.

As an online Business Diploma graduate, I firmly believe in lifelong learning. This post isn’t just a list of quotes; each one has a small bit of wisdom you can apply immediately for more context on how it can help you do well in every aspect of your studies.

All images used below are my own, taken to inspire us to do our best when it comes to studying!

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    Table Of Contents
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    Positive Motivation Quotes to Get You Started

    If you’re struggling with procrastination or self-doubt, these positive study motivation quotes can reignite your determination and rekindle your enthusiasm for learning.

    The quotes in this section will inspire you to take that first step, reminding you that the journey of getting your degree begins with one small action followed by a thousand others.

    1. Wherever you are is the best place to start

    No matter where you are or what you have available to you, it’s the best place to get started.

    You may not have the fancy stationary, the newest computer or any idea how you’re going to get through that required math course, but you’re exactly where you need to be to start.

    Improvement only comes from action!

    “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

    – Arthur Ashe, American tennis player
    Quote "“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” Arthur Ashe

    2. Study for just one hour

    Starting is the hardest part. Set a timer for 60 minutes and see how you feel when the timer goes off. Chances are you’ll want to keep going.

    “Studying for 1 hour is less than 5% of your day. You can make it through 60 minutes.”

    – Alexandra Markin, founder of Online Student Life
    Quote overlay on image of woman siting at a desk typing on a laptop.

    3. Get ahead by getting started

    The only way to get ahead in life is by getting started, no matter how small your steps are in the beginning.

    If you’re looking for small, actionable steps to help you get started, read the post How to Study When You Don’t Feel Like It.

    “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”

    – Mark Twain, American Writer
    Quote "“The secret of getting ahead is getting started." Mark Twain

    4. Every day counts

    They say there’s no time like the present. Don’t waste it!

    “The greatest amount of wasted time is time not getting started.”

    – Dawson Trotman, Author
    Quote overlay on image of math notes, textbook, laptop and pens.

    5. Create your new beginning today

    Every single day that goes by is an opportunity for you to create the life you want.

    “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”

    – Maria Robinson, American politician
    Quote “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” Maria Robinson

    6. Choose Your Hard

    Everyday you have a choice: work hard for the life you want, or stay exactly where you are.

    “Studying is hard. Not having the life you want is hard. Choose your hard.”

    – Alexandra Markin, founder of Online Student Life
    Quote overlay on image of open laptop and textbook beside bowl of oatmeal and book on desk.

    7. Consistent small actions define success

    It’s easy to take a day or two off from studying. Work towards studying daily even if it’s something small like reviewing flashcards, reading the chapter summary or doing one problem.

    “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”

    – Robert Collier, American author
    Quote “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” Robert Collier

    8. Make studying a part of your morning routine

    Don’t procrastinate. When you make studying a part of your morning routine, your progress will flourish.

    “You will find the key to success under the alarm clock.”

    – Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father of the United States
    Quote “You will find the key to success under the alarm clock.” Benjamin Franklin

    9. Start with ambition, persist until completion

    A reminder that ambition does not achieve goals; it’s the work you must put in to get there.

    “Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.”

    – Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer, poet and thinker
    Quote: "Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it." Ralph Waldo Emerson

    10. Reward yourself by starting today

    It’s the series of small steps that lead to success, however small. You can’t harvest without first planting the garden.

    “Do something today that your future self will thank you for.”

    – Sean Patrick Flanery, American actor
    Quote “Do something today that your future self will thank you for.” Sean Patrick Flanery

    Motivational Quotes to Study Hard

    Theses quotes will encourage you to rise above your comfort zone and embrace the fact that success is only achieved through hard work and dedication. Stay motivated to study with the powerful quotes in this section.

    11. The greatest opportunities are hidden behind hard work

    If you can keep studying through tough times and hard subjects, you’ll be miles ahead of your peers. The best opportunities present themselves when uncovered behind the invisible wall of hard work.

    “Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them.”

    – Ann Landers, American columnist of Ask Ann Landers
    Quote "Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them.” Ann Landers

    12. Wishing won’t get you good grades

    Wishing won’t work without with a plan of working hard.

    “You don’t get what you wish for. You get what you work for.”

    – Daniel Milstein, Ukrainian entrepreneur
    Quote “You don’t get what you wish for. You get what you work for.” Daniel Milstein

    13. Talent is overrated

    If you’re struggling with your subject of study and feel you’re just not smart enough to become a doctor, lawyer, entrepreneur or literally anything else, don’t give up!

    Read the book Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin. You’ll be surprised at the one (fairly easy) thing successful people do that makes them who they are. (Hint – they weren’t born with it).

    “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

    – Tim Notke, professor
    Quote “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” Tim Notke

    14. Hard work yeilds nice things

    Becuase the whole point of studying hard is so you can have nice things, correct?

    “A lot of hard work is hidden behind nice things.”

    – Ralph Lauren, American fashion designer
    Quote “A lot of hard work is hidden behind nice things.” Ralph Lauren

    15. Study harder by showing up every day

    Commit to your success by showing up for your studies. Every. Single. Day.

    “Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.”

    – Sam Ewing, musical composer
    Quote “Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.” – Sam Ewing

    16. You can only see results by putting in the time

    There are no shortcuts to success. You have to put in the time.

    “Skill is only developed by hours and hours of work.”

    – Usain Bolt, Jamaican runner
    Quote “Skill is only developed by hours and hours of work.” Usain Bolt

    17. Dreams only come true by putting in the effort

    Dream hard, work harder.

    “Some people dream of success, while others wake up and work hard at it.”

    – Napoleon Hill, author of Think And Grow Rich
    Quote "Some people dream of success, while others wake up and work hard at it.” Napoleon Hill

    18. Learn that discipline always trumps motivation

    College is hard, and online college can be even harder without learning how to master self-discipline, especially if you’re working on a self-directed schedule. It’s the difference between success and failure, so push through when motivation wanes.

    “You won’t always be motivated, so you must learn to be disciplined.”

    – Alexandra Markin, founder of Online Student Life
    Quote "You won’t always be motivated, so you must learn to be disciplined.” Alexandra Markin

    19. Work for opportunities others miss

    Studying is not glamorous. Romanticize it all you want, but college is full of late nights and long hours. Only those who tenaciously climb the academic mountain will be heavily rewarded.

    “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

    – Thomas Edison, American inventor
    Quote “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Thomas Edison, American inventor

    20. Don’t wait for inspiration to strike

    As you’ll find on your education journey, inspiration is fleeting. Don’t overthink it: clear your desk, open your books and just start.

    “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

    – Stephen King, American author
    Quote “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” Stephen King

    Study Motivation Quotes to Push Through and Keep Going

    When you encounter challenging subjects or the temptation to procrastinate, these quotes serve as a powerful reminder of our goals and the importance of consistent effort.

    21. Don’t let procrastination win

    You worked hard to get into university – don’t let procrastination take over.

    “If you have goals and procrastination, you have nothing. If you have goals and you take action, you will have anything you want.”

    – Thomas J. Vilord, author
    Quote “If you have goals and procrastination, you have nothing. If you have goals and you take action, you will have anything you want.” Thomas J. Vilord, author

    22. Embrace difficulties

    Face challenging subjects head on. Whether it’s math, coding or biology, embrace the fact that these difficult classes are what makes us stronger.

    I found math courses the most difficult. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, I focused on taking detailed math notes from the textbook, took my time with the course, and did as many practice problems as possible. By the end of the course, I felt my self-confidence in math had much improved.

    “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

    – Jillian Michaels, American personal trainer and businesswoman
    Quote “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” – Jillian Michaels

    23. Get off your butt

    You can productively use your desk chair for one of two things – studying or Netflix. I can tell you from experience that the latter won’t buy you what your dreams desire.

    “The Lord gave us two ends – one to sit on and the other to think with. Success depends on which one we use the most.”

    – Ann Landers, American columnist, “Ask Ann Landers”
    Quote “The Lord gave us two ends – one to sit on and the other to think with. Success depends on which one we use the most.” – Ann Landers

    24. Knowledge is nothing without action

    kKnowledge is the foundation, but action is the catalyst for change and progress. Without action, knowledge remains only untapped potential.

    “Knowledge + action = the life of your dreams. Keep pushing.”

    – Alexandra Markin, founder of Online Student Life
    Quote “Knowledge + action = the life of your dreams. Keep pushing.” - Alexandra Markin

    25. Push through the daily study sessions

    It’s not the end degree goal that deters most students; its enduring the daily study sessions for the weeks that turn into months, and the months that turn into years.

    Keep yourself motivated by tracking your sessions. There’s something satisfying about tracking your study hours and looking back at a completed monthly page showing your progress.

    “It isn’t the mountains ahead that wear you down. It’s the pebble in your shoe.”

    – Muhammad Ali, American professional boxer
    Quote “It isn’t the mountains ahead that wear you down. It’s the pebble in your shoe.” – Muhammad Ali

    26. Use it or loose it

    When you go too long in between study sessions, you tend to forget things you’ve learned. This only compounds in courses where you have 30 weeks to finish. Don’t re-learn concepts; keep on a consistent study path and put what you learn to use on a daily basis.

    “Only knowledge that is used sticks in your mind.”

    – Dale Carnegie, author of How To Win Friends and Influence People
    Quote “Only knowledge that is used sticks in your mind.” – Dale Carnegie

    27. Change inspiration into action

    There are some fantastic Instagram studygram accounts out there. But apart from the pretty desks, fancy stationary and inspirational day-in-the-life videos, you have to change your inspired mind into plausible action.

    “This is your sign to stop scrolling social media, get out your books, and study. At some point inspiration must change into action.”

    – Alexandra Markin, founder of Online Student Life
    Quote “This is your sign to stop scrolling social media, get out your books, and study. At some point inspiration must change into action.” - Alexandra Markin

    28. There are no shortcuts to success

    There is no way to shortcut learning concepts or doing a math problem over and over again until you get it right. Success takes time and effort.

    “There is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs.”

    – Zig Ziglar, American author
    Quote “There is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs.” – Zig Ziglar

    29. Rely on your habits, not motivation

    Building good study habits is what allows you to keep going on days when motivation is low.

    “Motivation is what sets you in motion, habit is what keeps you going.”

    – Jim Ryun, Former US Representative
    Quote “Motivation is what sets you in motion, habit is what keeps you going.” – Jim Ryun

    30. Work your plan

    The planning process can be so enjoyable for a lot of us: setting up a new bullet journal habit tracker or a new Notion page, but more important than that is execution. Your pretty plan is there to serve a purpose – bettering yourself.

    Like the setup in the photo below? Go to the post Essential Bullet Journal Spreads for Online Students for the details on how to create it!

    “Plan your work and work your plan.”

    – Napoleon Hill, author of Think And Grow Rich
    Quote “Plan your work and work your plan.” – Napoleon Hill

    Study Motivation Quotes to Overcome Failure

    Everyone experiences failure, even the straight A students. It should not be seen as something negative, rather as a valuable learning experience. I learned more from my low test scores and math problems I got wrong than I did from easily acing a concept or course.

    Embrace the failures; they are there to serve you.

    31. Your glory is in rising up

    Rise up after every failure.

    “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.”

    – Ralph Waldo Emerson
    Quote “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

    32. View failure as a detour

    Don’t view failure as the end; view it as finding another way to reach your goal.

    “Failure is a detour, not a dead-end street.”

    – Zig Ziglar, American author
    Quote “Failure is a detour, not a dead-end street.” – Zig Ziglar

    33. Be enthusiastic in the face of failure

    It can be hard to bounce back from failing an exam or not getting accepted into your college of choice, but know there is always another option out there, and that’s something to be enthusiastic about.

    “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

    – Winston Churchill, former British Prime Minister
    Quote “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

    34. Keep going until you find the right solution

    There are more ways that won’t work than those that will, so keep going until you have found a solution.

    “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

    – Thomas Edison, American inventor
    Quote “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison

    35. A modern take on Snow White

    This is one of my favourite quotes I found years ago on none other that Pinterest. I like to repeat this to myself every time I look in the mirror when I feel times are tough.

    “Mirror mirror on the wall, I’ll always get up after I fall. And whether I run, walk or have to crawl, I’ll set my goals and achieve them all.”

    – Unknown
    Quote "Mirror mirror on the wall, I'll always get up after I fall. And whether I run, walk or have to crawl, I'll set my goals and achieve them all." - Unknown

    36. Failure isn’t the worst outcome

    Even if you’re not sure your major is exactly the right choice for you, it would be worse to have never tried.

    “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”

    – Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States
    Quote “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” – Theodore Roosevelt

    37. Don’t give up

    You never know what’s just around the corner: an offer of an internship, your dream job or an opportunity you didn’t expect that will change your life – hang in there!

    “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

    – Thomas Edison, American inventor
    Quote “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas Edison

    38. Minimize your chances of failure

    It’s inevitable that you will fail. It happens to everyone, even the best students. But you can minimize the times you do fail by always being prepared.

    “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

    – Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father of the United States
    Quote “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

    39. The only real failure is quitting

    Failures aren’t really failures, they’re lessons. The only time you actually fail is when you give up.

    “The only failure is quitting. Everything else is just gathering information.”

    – Jen Sincero, author of You Are A Badass
    Quote “The only failure is quitting. Everything else is just gathering information.” – Jen Sincero

    40. Stand up more times than you fall

    Failure doesn’t always have to be dire, like failing a class. It can be missing a few percentages away from an A, having your project turn out differently than you planned or having to miss a study session with your best friend.

    Whether you realize it or not, these small things are all failures you’re overcoming, learning from, and getting stronger because of.

    “Fall seven times, stand up eight.”

    – Japanese Proverb
    Quote “Fall seven times, stand up eight.” – Japanese Proverb

    Study Motivation Quotes to Crush Your Fears

    Embarking on a journey of higher education is a noble pursuit, and it’s completely normal for doubts and fears to cloud our path forward.

    These quotes will help you overcome any fear you may have!

    41. Sometimes change is necessary

    If you have a good job but know you can do better, but you have to leave that job to go back to school, do it. You have to leave your comfort zone to be able to achieve greater things.

    “Do not be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.”

    – John Rockefeller, American business magnate
    Quote “Do not be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” – John Rockefeller

    42. Your dreams live on the other side of fear

    Moving across the country or even to another continent to attend your dream college can be scary, but often it’s really only the fear of the unknown that scares you.

    “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.”

    – George Addair, real-estate developer
    Quote “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” – George Addair

    43. Action breeds courage

    Sitting around worrying about your studies while you procrastinate watching Netflix or scrolling TikTok isn’t going to make anything better. Getting up and doing something about it is the only fix.

    “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.

    – Dale Carnegie, American author
    Quote “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie

    44. Your potential is behind the hard things

    The whole reason you’re going to college is to learn new things. Welcome the challenge! Anytime you go beyond what you know you are certain to fail, but without failure there is no growth.

    “Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.”

    – Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer, poet and thinker
    Quote “Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

    45. Be brave enough to exploit your own courage

    You are your own person, having unique talents to share with the world. Use others only as inspiration, and never try to imitate them.

    “Every man has his own courage, and is betrayed because he seeks in himself the courage of other persons.”

    – Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer, poet and thinker
    Quote “Every man has his own courage, and is betrayed because he seeks in himself the courage of other persons.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

    46. Embrace your fear

    Don’t worry – your fear will only last until you’ve started doing the thing. Once you’ve got the hang of it, all perception of fear will dissipate.

    If you feel you struggle with this, read Susan’s book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, with techniques for turning fear, indecision, and anger into power, action, and love.

    “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”

    – Susan Jeffers, author
    Quote “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” Susan Jeffers

    47. Everyday is an opportunity to face fears

    Emerson has some great quotes, especially on fear and doubt. You can practice facing your fear head on everyday: starting to tackle that concept you know nothing about, learning how to use Notion or sending that email to your professor to ask for help.

    These may seem insignificant, but fears are not just for life’s bigger issues.

    “He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.”

    – Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer, poet and thinker
    Quote “He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

    48. Face everything and rise

    Which definition of fear will you choose today?

    “F-E-A-R has two meanings: ‘Forget Everything And Run’ or ‘Face Everything And Rise.’ The choice is yours.”

    – Zig Ziglar, American author
    Quote “F-E-A-R has two meanings: ‘Forget Everything And Run’ or ‘Face Everything And Rise.’ The choice is yours.” – Zig Ziglar

    49. Do you best today and try again tomorrow

    It takes courage to overcome your fears. Sometimes, you just need to try again tomorrow. Give yourself grace.

    “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying “I will try again tomorrow.'”

    – Mary Anne Radmacher, author
    Quote “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying ‘I will try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

    50. Everyone starts at zero

    Don’t compare yourself to someone else’s middle. We all experience fear as we embark our next journeys.

    “Even the greatest were beginners. Don’t be afraid to take that first step.”

    – Muhammad Ali, American professional boxer
    Quote “Even the greatest were beginners. Don’t be afraid to take that first step.” – Muhammad Ali

    Next Steps

    Now that you’ve been inspired by this post and have saved some of these to your Pinterest board, it’s time to sit down and study.

    You have to power to do anything you set your mind to; don’t underestimate yourself.

    What’s your favourite quote? Share with us in the comments below!

    If you found this post helpful, sign up for my email list below and follow me on Instagram and Pinterest to join our online student community – you don’t have to go through your study journey alone!

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