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7 More Tips to Keep You Going in School

Driven to Learn
Part 3 of 3

When you’re a student, it’s hard to keep going day after day, isn’t it? As soon as one assignment is finished, you’re looking toward the next one. As soon as you’ve passed one test, you start the next unit of study. Maybe you found a few tips in part 2 to boost your enthusiasm. Keep reading for additional suggestions (tips 8 through 14) below. After all, you need all the help you can get!

8. Use your passion to keep you motivated.

Do you ever feel that school is interfering with your favorite activities? Maybe you just want to forget about academics altogether. Who cares about reading Robert Frost when you need to be perfecting your dance routine? Who has time for memorizing history facts when the big game is coming up? It can sometimes be a challenge to stick to the books when you’d rather be pursuing your passion all day. But if you have the right attitude, you might be able to use your passion for motivation instead of distraction.

Fourteen-year-old Thomas does not enjoy academics. He feels the pressure and anxiety of schoolwork almost every day. And yet he manages to stay motivated because of one thing: his passion for theater and drama. His school drama group provides a connection with his friends, an outlet for his creativity, and a way to relieve some stress. Theater has become his reason for staying in school. 

When your extra-curricular activities are part of school already—like Thomas’ drama group, the concert band, or the football team—it makes staying motivated a bit easier. You actually have to go to school to be involved, right? And many school organizations encourage good grades, or even require that you keep up your grades, in order to participate. So, if you haven’t already, it might be helpful to involve yourself in at least one school-related extra-curricular group.

But even if pursuit of your passion lies beyond the campus, you can still use it as motivation. For example, remind yourself that a good academic reputation at school this year might help you get into that prestigious summer training program you’re interested in. 

9. Don’t procrastinate.

Putting off your work often drains motivation. You have less time in which to complete your assignments and to do your best. You don’t feel good about your work. And when an assignment receives a less-than-stellar review from your teacher, your confidence tends to plunge. Procrastination can easily cause you to fall behind, as well, leaving you with a hopeless feeling about the rest of the term, “I’ll never catch up now. What’s the use of even trying?” Talk about motivation problems!

10. Find your inspiration.

Find out about someone who achieved what you want to achieve in life. How did that person get there? Teen communication expert Josh Shipp advises focusing on the person’s struggle to reach his or her goals. Want to be a rich, successful business owner? Do a search online for people who started a successful business from a garage. Want to be a performer, writer, artist…? Search for those who faced rejections before becoming a success. You’ll probably be surprised. As you read these stories, note the attitudes of determination in spite of roadblocks encountered along the way. You might realize that if those people could do it, so can you.

11. Make connections between things you like and schoolwork you don’t enjoy.

Why do you like working on the yearbook, for example, but not writing a paper for your civics class? Is it because the yearbook project involves working with your friends and coming up with ideas together? Then maybe you could get your friends involved in the paper-writing process. Get a group of friends together for a brainstorming session. Read each other’s work aloud and critique each other’s writing.

12. Learn from your past mistakes.

When you don’t feel like studying for the history test, think about how you felt when you failed that last one. Do you really want to feel that way again? And before you put off writing your next English paper until the night before it’s due, remember the last time you made that decision—the agony of sitting up until 3:00 AM and the disappointment of getting a low grade.

13. Imagine the worst-case scenario.

You really want to sleep in on Monday and skip your first class. You’re tired. And besides, you’ve already completed the paper that’s due later in the week. One class period won’t matter, you reason, as you reach over to hit the snooze button on your alarm clock. But then you start imagining the worst that could happen…. 

Suppose when you go back to class the next day, you find out that Monday had been the final due date for that paper. You turn it in late, of course, but you only get half-credit. It’s a downward spiral in that class from there on out. You end up with a D in the class and it pulls your GPA down too low to get into the college (or graduate school) you were hoping for…. 

Suddenly, you’re awake. More than likely, the consequences for sleeping in won’t be quite that destructive. But you really don’t want to find out. It isn’t worth it. You decide to go to class today, after all—with your paper in hand.

14. Solve for the unknown.

When you find yourself unmotivated to do your schoolwork, ask yourself why. Try to figure it out. Is there something missing from the equation that might help motivate you? Perhaps you need more time, fewer commitments, better eating habits, or more sleep. Maybe you need a study partner, a reward system, or a new extra-curricular activity. Or maybe you simply need a little extra encouragement from a parent or teacher. Once you figure it out, get help to fill in the blanks and get moving, “Put yourself in a position to win,” writes Shipp.

Remember that you’re not alone trying to keep up the pace with your studies. Parents, good teachers, and supportive friends can all help you keep going through the many distractions of life. But you have the ultimate responsibility for staying motivated enough to finish the journey.

Ellen, a 22-year-old college senior with a 4.0 GPA, has obviously managed to stay motivated throughout her academic career. What’s her advice to the apathetic student? “No matter what else is going on in your life, it’s important to keep up your school work,” she says, “Even if you don’t feel like it at the moment, you just have to do it. Make yourself do it. You don’t want to have regrets later on. Think about it like this: The smaller things going on in your life won’t matter much in the long run. But school can make a big difference for your future.”

Written by Beth Prassel-Sieg
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- OTHER PART IN THIS SERIES -
Part 1:
8 Things Your Teacher Won't Tell You About Education
Driven to Learn
Part 2:
7 Tips for Getting Motivated in School
Driven to Learn

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Good habits formed at youth make all of the difference in life. Aristotle