Positive affirmations for Black students

Andy Owusu

Andy Owusu is the content lead for the Black students’ Student Space package and is a PhD scholar at London South Bank University, consultant on students mental health in Higher Education, a researcher and an author.

Positive affirmations for Black students can serve as tools to combat the unique stressors and systemic challenges Black students may face. This article details both what positive affirmations are and how you can use them on your wellbeing journey.

Before engaging in this article, it may be helpful to gain a better understanding of what positive affirmations are. Affirmations are positive statements that individuals repeat to themselves to challenge and overcome negative thoughts and self-doubt. In this student space project, we have often referenced imposter syndrome as one of the issues Black students in higher education face among others. We find that affirmations can be particularly empowering, serving as tools to combat such unique stressors and systemic challenges Black students may face. By regularly affirming your worth, capabilities, and potential, you can foster a stronger sense of self-confidence and resilience.

To effectively use positive affirmations, it’s important that you choose or create statements that resonate personally, such as "I am resilient, capable, and deserving of success in my academic journey." Repeating these affirmations daily, not necessarily standing directly in front of a mirror looking to your reflection, positive affirmations can happen at any time in your day even during moments of quiet reflection, the dazed moments in bed after waking up or on your commute to lectures, engaging in affirmations can reinforce a positive mindset. The more often they’re repeated throughout the day, the more they become part of the subconscious. You can craft your own affirmations by identifying areas where you seek growth or encouragement, ensuring the statements you use are positive, present-tense, and reflect your true aspirations and strengths. Affirmations aren’t a ‘magic wand’ and shifts in deeply held beliefs may take a while to notice, however, this practice aims not only to nurture mental wellbeing but also build a foundation for enduring self-assurance and empowerment.

Below are a few examples of positive affirmations and what they mean

This affirmation acknowledges the challenges Black students may face in the UK university system due to systemic inequalities. It emphasises the resilience needed to navigate these challenges and affirms their inherent capability and worthiness of achieving success. Despite obstacles, I believe in my ability to succeed academically, recognizing my resilience and worthiness of achievement.

This affirmation highlights the strengths and talents Black students bring to their academic pursuits. It emphasises the importance of intellect, creativity, and determination in facing and overcoming obstacles. I possess unique strengths that empower me to overcome any challenge I encounter on my academic journey.

This affirmation encourages Black students to embrace their cultural identity and recognize the value of their perspectives in academic settings. It emphasises the importance of diversity in enriching classroom discussions. My unique perspective adds value to classroom discussions, contributing to a more diverse and inclusive learning environment.

This affirmation reaffirms the worthiness of Black students' dreams and aspirations, regardless of societal barriers. It instills confidence in their ability to overcome obstacles and pursue their goals. I believe in my worthiness and I am determined to pursue my dreams, despite any challenges that may arise.

This affirmation reframes setbacks as opportunities for personal growth and development. It encourages resilience and a growth mindset, empowering Black students to see challenges as stepping stones to success. I view setbacks as opportunities to learn and grow, continually striving to become the best version of myself.

This affirmation emphasises the importance of community support in the academic journey of Black students. It acknowledges the role of peers, mentors, and allies in providing encouragement and empowerment. I am surrounded by a supportive community that uplifts and empowers me, providing strength and encouragement along my academic path.

This affirmation highlights the transformative power of education for Black students. It emphasises their potential to enact positive change in their own lives and communities through their academic pursuits. Through my education, I have the power to effect positive change in my life and the world around me.

This affirmation acknowledges the sacrifices of Black trailblazers who paved the way for future generations. It instills a sense of responsibility in Black students to continue the legacy of progress and equity. I recognize and honour the sacrifices of those who came before me, and I am committed to paving the way for future generations of Black students.

This affirmation encourages Black students to recognize and celebrate their achievements, no matter how small. It emphasises the importance of acknowledging the effort and dedication required for success. I take pride in my accomplishments, recognizing the hard work and dedication that went into achieving them.

This affirmation empowers Black students to take control of their own narratives and define their own paths to success. It emphasises the qualities of excellence, perseverance, and triumph in their academic journeys. I determine my own path to success, writing a narrative of excellence, perseverance, and triumph in my academic pursuits.


  • My worth is determined by who I am, not by what I do.

  • Rest is productive.

  • Downtime is valuable time.

  • I accept that this is a productive time even though nothing can be seen yet.

  • It is safe for me to take a break.

  • Being is just as valuable as doing, and sometimes even more so.

  • Taking frequent breaks allows me to do my best work.

  • My creativity is fueled by rest.

  • I am my best self when I am well rested.

  • Doing less allows me to have more of what matters in my life.

Page last reviewed: June 2024