August 20th, 2015 by TOMS

In 2013, TOMS partnered with several other socially minded businesses to form the TOMS Marketplace. Each of our 43 partners are using business to positively impact the communities they empower, whether they’re creating jobs or facilitating progress in health, nutrition, hygiene and education. With many of you heading off to college soon, who better to take advice from than the people who inspire us everyday here at TOMS?

Read on for 15 inspirational tips and tales from some of our partners on how to stand out, stand up, and do something impactful throughout the coming school year (and beyond):

1. “If I’ve learned anything, it’s that life can take you on a completely unexpected course simply because of the people you meet. I hope you’ll use this school year to meet new friends, experience new things, and enjoy the journey that life takes you on – you never know where it will lead!” – Same Sky

2. “Life is short. Take risks and follow your heart, don’t follow the money.” – Cleobella

3. “Invest your time in meaningful activities that express your creativity and impact others.” – Give Perf

Give Perf founders Casey Courter, Brooke Beranek

4. “When I was 14 years old, we didn’t have social media. I would have loved to share the hashtag #girlboss with my young self for inspiration. There are so many inspiring, strong women, boss ladies out there showing that you can do it all.” – GREENOLA STYLE

5. “Pack a snack for brain food.” – umano

6. “Seeing failure as a temporary position is important to keep in mind. You can always learn and grow from your mistakes.” – Akola Project

7. “The decisions you make today will impact your tomorrows. Choose wisely and love well.” – The Giving Keys

8. “You are exactly where you are supposed to be. If you feel stuck, frustrated, or challenged, just know that you are experiencing it for a reason. It will take you to places you may never imagine; eventually everything connects.” – Cleobella

Cleobella founders Jim O’Brien, Angela O’Brien

9. “Don’t be afraid to be weird. Weird is interesting. Weird is fun. Don’t worry about what others think about you. Be you. Be weird!” – umano

10. “When I took the fear of failure off the table, I then began to see great success. This doesn’t mean I haven’t failed… it’s my failures that have made me that much more successful.” – GREENOLA STYLE

11. “Realizing you have what it takes to pursue your dreams is the first step in the right direction” – Give Perf

12. “Exercise your creativity. Work out your imagination. Create art every day.” – umano

umano founders Alex Torrey, Jonathan Torrey

13. “The universe will always provide you with what you need, and if you’re doing what you love, success is inevitable.” – Cleobella

14. “It’s in those moments I pushed myself out of my comfort-zone that I really made great motions forward.” – GREENOLA STYLE

15. “Tie your shoelaces and sit in the front row.” – umano

BONUS: Two more tales we just couldn’t leave out – many thanks to the TOMS Marketplace partners for sharing their thoughts with us!

“I used to be embarrassed to admit that it took me 7 years, and 4 colleges to finish my undergraduate degree and find my own unique path. That is until I started measuring this time by the experiences I banked, the people I met, and the courage I fostered within that lead me to start GREENOLA STYLE in my last year of college.” – Jennifer Morgan, Founder, GREENOLA STYLE

“It has been a tremendous gift to be able to travel and experience new cultures while living in East Africa. Travel has shown me above all else, the power and importance of the human connection. It reminds me how crucial it is to treat one another with kindness, respect and compassion regardless of differences in race, sex, sexual preference, customs, beliefs and backgrounds. This year, I hope you feel inclined to always practice kindness and acceptance toward those around you, and to go out of your way to make sure that everyone feels love and respect from you. It goes such a long way.” – Courtney Poole, Founder, ROSE & FITZGERALD