Motivation for College Students

5 Ways to Stay Motivated in School

Most of us start to lose our motivation for college at some point. Attending class day after day without receiving much intrinsic reward gets old. Many students have problems starting their freshmen year, when most of their studies are in boring general education classes like history, English, and math. You might ask yourself, "is all this really worth it?"

While the saying is true, "college isn't for everyone", it is my opinion that you should finish school or you may end up regretting it for the rest of your life. Before you throw in the towel, try out a few of these tips to get you back on track for college success and finding that much needed motivation for college.

1) Have You Thought Your Major Through?

Many students jump into college without putting much thought into one of the most important decisions of your 2-4+ years of education. While some may just see college as an extension of high school and drudge on, other might find a serious lack of motivation towards their chosen major/profession.

If it's within your financial means, take a closer look into changing your chosen degree path and reevaluate why you started attending classes in the first place. It may sound cheesy, but make the decision based on what your heart says. Renew your motivation for college by going into a profession you're actually interested in.

"I'd rather be a failure at something I love
than a success at something I hate"-George F. Burns

2) Get "Hands-On"

If you're burned out on coursework it's not likely your first semester. Even if it's just your sophomore year, you might want to start looking for work related to what you want to get into after college. Businesses like new grads, but they would prefer grads with experience - so why not get on the bandwagon early?

Talk to your career services department about finding an internship, work study, or even volunteer work in your area of study. If you start working, you might be able to reignite that motivation to continue on with school.

3) Set Realistic Goals

Feeling overwhelmed and behind is a major reason for losing motivation for college and wanting to give up. Particular semesters might have you feeling tired and overworked - keep in mind that a traditional semester is only 15 weeks, it will be over before you know it. Then you get to try something new, and hopefully less stressful.

Try renewing your motivation for college by taking baby-steps. Set small goals and don't think too hard about the long-term. Move ahead with a day-by-day attitude and pace your study time equally instead of doing it all at the last minute. College goal setting will help relieve stress and that feeling of being overwhelmed.

4) Track and Review Your Progress

One common question you might ask yourself is, "why do I have to take all these meaningless classes? I'm not going to use any of it after school." There is a major difference between receiving a college degree and attending a trade school. In college, you're not only learning your profession, but earning a rounded education and a different perspective on life.

If you're an upperclassman (or woman), look back on the papers you wrote your freshmen year. You might feel a little embarrassed to show that work to others...why? Because your grammar, spelling, creativeness, and professionalism has grown and matured.

For those that are just starting out and don't have past work to look back on, talk to someone who has graduated from a 4-year school. Ask them if they had to do it all over again, would they? Are they glad they took all those so called "useless" courses like math, history, and English? What did they get out of taking those classes?

5) Rid Yourself of Bad Influences

Everyone needs to relax and have some fun every now and then, just be sure to take all things in moderation. Many students enjoy a stress-free lifestyle, which might include partying, drinking, and staying up until 4:00 am on a regular basis. It's healthy and good for the nerves to cut loose every so often, just don't make an overly regular habit of it.

If "relaxing" too much is cutting into your grades, it is likely getting you behind. If it's getting you behind, it's making you feel overwhelmed. If you feel overwhelmed, you will lose your motivation for college and start looking online for ways to gain that motivation back ;)

Are you studying properly? One of the main reasons for losing motivation is falling behind. Learn how to study effectively.

Bad influences might not just be excessive drinking/partying, it can be any activity you overdo. In my freshman year of college, one of my roommates was completely addicted to video games. Even though he was sharp as a tack, he didn't spend any effort on homework or studying. Eventually he dropped out of college - yup, you guessed it - because he felt overwhelmed and under motivated. True story! Take everything in moderation.

Do your motivational issues run deeper than just college coursework? You're not alone. Read Depression in College Students.

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