College: Staying Motivated

I’ve decided to change things up a bit in today’s blog post both in hopes of providing advice to other fellow students as well as hopefully receiving insight from my readers.

Students in most colleges (excluding those on a quarter system, condolences to my friend Olivia) are pretty much in the homestretch of the Spring 2016 semester. I’m a junior at Texas Wesleyan University and loving it, but, like most students it seems, I find myself sometimes struggling to stay motivated to keep giving my schoolwork 100%. Here are a few things I’ve been doing to try to get through the grind, and I would love to hear what others are doing. Seriously, I think we all need help.

1. Go to class
This may seem pretty obvious, but I find myself wishing I could stay in bed some mornings and just not go to class. I really think that everyone needs a day once in a while to just relax a bit, but try to make this happen on a day when at least one of your other classes is already cancelled or you truly know that you haven’t been absent often (if at all) before and you won’t be doing anything you can’t easily makeup. Other than that rare day, drag yourself out of bed and get to class. Not only can it be difficult to focus on school when you’re not actually at school, but you may need a personal day for when you’re actually sick or have another important commitment you can’t miss such as taking care of a sick child or going to a doctor/vet appointment.

2. Go to the library
I don’t live on campus, so unfortunately I can’t just pop into the library whenever I want to work on some homework. When I’m feeling particularly overwhelmed with looming deadlines or just want to get something out of the way, I force myself to stay after class and go sit in the library. The quiet environment of other students working on homework is really helpful to me, and I forbid myself to go on Facebook and the likes. Today after meeting with an advisor, I went to the library, sat down for two straight hours and completely finished an assignment I’ve been stressed about. I know that sitting for several hours and working nonstop on an assignment is not for everyone, but strangely enough I find that if I work a bit on an assignment every day, I get more stressed out about it and feel more lost. Knocking it out all at once and giving several hours of my undivided focus really helps me.

3. Realize it’s okay to mess up
When I get a lower grade than I was expecting or some harsh criticism, I sometimes find myself feeling hopeless and even wondering if I’m smart enough to be successful; in short, I struggle with self-confidence and frankly, I think a lot of college students secretly do. Though easier said than done, it’s extremely important to realize that it’s okay to not do as well as you had hoped or even flat out fail; everyone has setbacks, and it’s the overall goal that’s most important. Don’t let one bad grade ruin your confidence. Talk to your professor privately and admit that you had hoped to do better and would like help. Showing that initiative and desire to work hard may even prompt your professor to allow you to revise your assignment.

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4. Reflect on the money/hours already spent
Sometimes when I’m feeling especially stressed about school and just wish I didn’t even need a degree, I think about all of the money and hours I have already spent in college. (I realize I truly need and want a degree and I wouldn’t actually quit school, but sometimes I think about a slow down.) I have lots of other things going on in my life and sometimes I wish I could focus my full attention on riding, but then everything I’ve already done in college would be a waste. When life gets in the way it’s okay to take a break from school (I myself took a gap semester last fall), but make sure you stay on track and keep your eye on the prize. That being said…

5. Visualize your end goal 
In addition to thinking about the degree you want to obtain, think about life in general after college. I will be my parents’ first child to earn a degree, and I think about how I want to make them proud with that. A career I’ll be able to get with a degree will more than likely be better than a job I would get hired for without a degree, and hopefully I’ll be able to utilize my English degree to have a career that not only pays the bills, but that I enjoy. Having a career rather than just a job will enable me to earn more money and buy a house one day, and fully support myself. All of this relates to me completing college and earning that degree.

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I think I can make the generalization that pretty much everyone feels their motivation dwindling at some point during college. Not only is it important not to quit completely, but it’s also important to still give 100% to keep that GPA up, especially for students depending on scholarships like myself.

Once again, if any of my readers have their own tips for staying motivated, I would love to hear them. 🙂


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