Hentzel: Stay motivated in college


Craig Eckstein, Joe Halvorson, and Chris Macintosh, all seniors in meteorology, are near Beardshear Hall enjoying the fantastic weather, Tuesday, Sept. 20.

Caytlin Hentzel

We all know the signs. It starts with empty seats in class, and you suddenly become the only one in your row. Stick figures in the corners of paper start to do random dances or die in a tragic yet creative accident, as sketched by a bored classmate. You even start questioning yourself as you reach for the snooze button so you can snuggle in your warm bed just a few minutes longer.

Already a couple weeks into school, and many of you might start getting comfortable with class. You have friends that live on the same floor and maps are no longer needed to get from Durham to Hamilton. Projects, quizzes and exams are planned out. The food tastes more bland at the dining centers. Routines are beginning to form. That is all very good, but losing motivation in school is common, so don’t let it start creeping up too quickly.

Skipping class is easy, but come test time, you may suddenly realize you have no idea how to find X or who Skinner was. Then you will wish you had gone to class. “Research on college students indicates that higher class attendance, correlates with higher grades, earlier completion of degrees and simply staying at the university instead of dropping or flunking out.” This came from FatCampus.com. The website is committed to researching, identifying, and providing the highest quality resources for all aspects of the collegiate experience.

Some tricks to stay motivated would be to take time for fun, get together with classmates, discuss what you learn, and then reward yourself. Certain classes and professors can be challenging, and not comprehending the material can definitely be discouraging and make you want to throw in the towel. However, getting to know your other classmates can make sitting in class more bearable, help you stay encouraged and even take action. Ask the cute guy or girl next to you if he or she would like to meet up for coffee to discuss the latest chapter, or review for the quiz. Chances are they will be glad that someone is willing to go over the material with them.

After writing, discussing, sketching pictures, graphing or doing whatever else is needed to make sense of the mess of material you are studying, you will feel a surge of relief. Also, talking out the material or theories with another friend will really help reinforce your understanding of it.

When the grunt work is over, drop your books, notebooks, colored sticky notes and go do something fun. According to FatCampus.com, “All work and no play leads to stress which inhibits academic performance.” So kick stress in the butt. Whether it means doing so by playing “Super Smash Brothers” on the old Nintendo 64, or going out to see the newest movie in theaters, it will give you a chance to let loose and just breath for five seconds. I know I enjoy just sitting in my room listening to my vinyl collection and reading a book with an actual plot for a couple hours.

After unwinding, sit down, crack open that calculus book and attack it with a healthy focus. Then, and only then, can you spend a good amount of time comprehending the material, not just reading over the same line over and over again, trying to pick apart the problem for hours on end.

Parents, of course, pressure us to be our best and to study, study, study. But the truth is we cannot all be geniuses, like someone who considers reprogramming calculators for hours to be relaxing. Taking time away from the desk is healthy. Of course everything is good in moderation. Don’t read this and think you should play “Call of Duty” all the time, because its good for you to stay focused on school. Find the balance between school and fun and have a wonderful year.