At work and on campus several people often ask me about how I get motivated and stay motivated especially for academics. People asked me about how to be encouraged and find a driving force in order to perform well academically. This issue of motivation is what led me to not only write this article but also to share it with others that might be going through the same thing. I’ve read a lot about becoming successful in business, life, having good relationships etc but not much about issues that pertains to students and I strongly believe that this will help someone. This is a new year, a new school year and another new beginning so let’s take advantage of it.
If you grew up in an African household you can testify that you are in one way or the other required to me motivated in everything you do particularly in your school work. Whether you have to go and buy motivation, rent it or steal it your parents are expecting nothing but the best from you. Our families’ expectations of us are very high and our societies’ needs are even greater. I believe that life is full of ups and downs but I don’t believe there is anyone out there that can confidently claim that they’ve never experienced a down time in his/her life.
Before I discuss ways to regain inspiration I want to mention some common reasons why students are likely to be discouraged. First; constant failures or failure when you think you’ve studied hard and you didn’t achieve as high as you’d expected can leave one feeling discouraged. Another reason is when you feel like you are alone and stressed with your job, extracurricular activities to the point that you barely have time for yourself while making little progress in your academics. For whatever reason you might be feeling unenthusiastic I want you to know that discouragement is inevitable and you are not alone but you have to take your own destiny into your own hands. Instead of waiting around for that inspirational speaker or blaming your professors I want you to help yourself by considering the following steps realistically because time waits for no one.
Reflect on Your Purpose
Be realistic. Think about why you are in school. Is it to better your life or are you just hanging out? Please don’t deceive yourselves with what some youths are saying nowadays that Steve Jobs of Apple was a college dropout and made fame without much education. And that Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook was also a college dropout and the list continues. The truth is that the story didn’t stop there, some of these dropouts went back to get some more formal education but that’s a story for another day. Ponder upon what your family is giving up to have where you are. I advised writing your findings down because our memories are leaking buckets and writing down things adds significance to them and makes them easily accessible for another time.
Have A Passion for What You Are Studying
We are in the age where parents are becoming less adamant about their children going into a field of the parents’ choosing. So please take advantage of this opportunity. Can you see yourself, working in that hospital, bank, school etc? Is medicine, business, dance, accounting really for you? Don’t forget to write this down as well. What are your career plans and what led you to these decisions? What do you feel is the purpose of your major? Here are some same questions you can ask yourself just to fully solidify your purpose and passion what the career you are aiming at.
Avoid Distractions During The Term
Once again I am challenging you to be realistic. This is your life we are talking about. Not being motivated for school, work and other things in life can be a combination of several things. What are you doing that is taking too much of your time? Are you working too many hours in a week? Who are those people you need to spend less time with? Do you sincerely have to attend every event on campus? Honestly, things can be very difficult but keep in mind that you won’t be in school forever and whatever is worth doing should be done well. Make a list of the things you are doing that are distracting you from performing well academically.
Come up With an Improvement Strategy
Success is made by a conscious effort. Success is not accidental. It is not something people just stumbled on. Success is an event that is carefully planned and prepared for by those who desire it. You are not going to love every course. Some are going to be easier than the others but if your professors can identify you as a good student who is trying, they can bend or even break policies on your behave. So for instance, I advise you to go to your professors’ office hours and sit in a noticeable spot in the classroom. Make a list of what you can change about your current schedule. I already gave you an example of getting to know your professors and making sure they know you. You can cut back on your campus involvement and engage more in studying. You can also invest in your future by getting or tutor or asking a friend/classmate to tutor you if you can’t afford one. Exploit your resources.
The journey is not going to be easy but I can assure you that you won’t regret it. Now you know what to do. You know the people you might need to spend less time with. You now know that you need to spend more time studying. You realize now that it is affecting your academics when you attend all events on campus. Cut back on all the things you’ve listed and be true to yourself. I want you to know that what you do in your up time affects your down time and how you react in your down time affects you up time. I believe that motivation is about having a passion and a purpose. If you keep your purpose in clear view, motivation shouldn’t be far off.
In conclusion, you should get excited about your future. You are your greatest inspiration and it is your responsibility to motivate yourself. By being disciplined and self-controlled you can positively affect your performance in all areas of your life. Don’t get discouraged whenever things are not working out as you planned or expected, instead reflect on what went wrong and how you can change that to cause an improvement in your life. Just be true to yourself.
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Jemiyo A. is a pre-med student and currently the president of the African Christian Fellowship at the University of Oklahoma. She has a personal goal of encouraging the youths and motivating them to never give up on themselves. She believes that success is something that can we achieved by anyone who is willing to pay the price through hard work and a close walk with God.