Merriam-Webster defines "graduation" as "the act of receiving a diploma or degree," but for the more than 3 million students leaving school this year, it's so much more. Graduation is a time to reflect on memories and celebrate your academic accomplishments. It's a time to appreciate the past but consider the future. It's a time to tackle new experiences with the lessons you learned from old ones.

Whether you're overjoyed to be getting out of high school or sad to take off from college, celebrities and leaders have words of wisdom. Start your next journey armed with these inspirational quotations, collected from Quote Garden, the Muse and All Great Quotes:

  1. "Your education is a dress rehearsal for a life that is yours to lead." — Nora Ephron
  2. "People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do." — Rob Siltanen
  3. "It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all -- in which case, you fail by default." — J.K. Rowling
  4. "Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart, and intuition." — Steve Jobs
  5. "And now go, and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here." — Neil Gaiman
  6. "For the most important decisions in your life, trust your intuition, and then work with everything you have, to prove it right." — Tim Cook
  7. "You cannot authentically live anyone's life but your own. That is the deal life offers us." — Gabrielle Giffords
  8. "Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal." — Henry Ford
  9. "There is nothing more beautiful than finding your course as you believe you bob aimlessly in the current. And wouldn’t you know that your path was there all along, waiting for you to knock, waiting for you to become. This path does not belong to your parents, your teachers, your leaders, or your lovers. Your path is your character defining itself more and more every day." — Jodie Foster
  10. "How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone." — Gabrielle Coco Chanel
  11. "Life is an improvisation. You have no idea what's going to happen next and you are mostly just making things up as you go along." — Stephen Colbert
  12. "The things taught in schools and colleges are not an education, but the means of education." — Ralph Waldo Emerson
  13. "The important thing is not to stop questioning." — Albert Einstein
  14. "Real courage is holding on to a still voice in your head that says, ‘I must keep going.’ It’s that voice that says nothing is a failure if it is not final. That voice that says to you, ‘Get out of bed. Keep going. I will not quit.’" — Cory Booker
  15. "Live all of your life. Understand it, see it, appreciate it. And have fun." — Joss Whedon
  16. "A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad." — Theodore Roosevelt
  17. "When you leave here, don't forget why you came." — Adlai Stevenson
  18. "You cannot help but learn more as you take the world into your hands. Take it up reverently, for it is an old piece of clay, with millions of thumbprints on it." — John Updike
  19. "Even if it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go on out and sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures; sweep streets like Handel and Beethoven composed music; sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry; sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well." — Martin Luther King
  20. "Sometimes you find out what you are supposed to be doing by doing the things you are not supposed to do." — Oprah Winfrey