When I was a little girl my parents read me all of the Dr. Seuss books. I begged them to read me two or three a night until I could hardly keep my eyes open.
March 2 is National Read Across America Day — also known as Dr. Seuss' birthday.
So let’s take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of the most inspiring quotes. Here are the lifelong lessons I've learned from them:
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
YOU are the only YOU. Isn’t that awesome? There’s nobody alive who can be you better than you. So never aim to be just like someone else. It’s a waste of a perfectly good you.
“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
Sometimes when people grow up they lose their sense of wonder. Little things aren’t as exciting anymore and life can seem, well, boring at times. But fantasy isn’t just for children. Anyone — college student or adult — can be a kid at heart.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
It can be very easy to hand off the responsibility to someone else. “I don’t have to help the starving children abroad; someone else will,” or “I’m sure someone will stop to help that guy whose car just broke down.” But if everyone is waiting on others to make a change in the world, then who will do it? Be the person who changes the world with your kindness.
“You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go …”
You won’t always be on your own. You’ll have friends and family to help you throughout life, but don’t let them decide how you live your life, because you’re the one who is stuck with your choices. Follow your dreams and don’t give them up for anyone. As Dr. Seuss also said, “only you can control your future.”
“Read. Travel. Read. Ask. Read. Learn. Read. Connect. Read.”
Never forget the magic of reading for fun, the importance of asking questions or the joy traveling can bring you.
“Be who you are and say what you feel because the ones who mind don’t matter, and the ones who matter don’t mind.”
Those who truly care for you will still care for you when you speak your mind.
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
Some people can’t stay in your life forever, so don’t take anyone for granted. One of the hardest parts of growing up is losing people you love, but you can still hold on to the good memories. They’re not tainted just because the person is no longer in your life.
“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”
Most of the time, in your heart, you know the right solution to your problem. Don’t be scared to do what’s right.
“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”
No matter how successful you become, never let yourself get into the mindset that you are better than others. Everyone is your equal. So never judge a book by its cover because some people may surprise you once you get to know them, and you can never have too many friends.
“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act.”
It can be very hard to balance everything that is important to you — your family, friends, hobbies and school… But remember while balancing all of these may be hard it’s worth it.
“I’m afraid that sometimes you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ’cause you’ll play against you.”
Don’t let yourself be your worst critic and your greatest enemy. Love yourself, and others will, too.
“Think and wonder, wonder and think.”
It’s OK to be a daydreamer. Let your mind wander sometimes. You’ll be surprised at the brilliant thoughts that come to you.
“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”
Don’t be afraid to take the road less traveled. Being just like everyone else is boring. Always be yourself, unapologetically and unashamed. Be original and don’t be afraid to be YOU-nique.
— Jasmine Barta was a USA TODAY Collegiate Correspondent. This was originally published in 2013.