If senioritis (or junioritis, sophmoritis, or freshmanitis for that matter) is kicking in here are some great tips to help you get motivated to study.
- It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. So often, we set ourselves up to fail by telling ourselves that we must do everything we can to get a perfect on the test or we may as well not even try. Procrastination is sometimes a defense mechanism against the possibility of failure. If you put things off, you’ll at least have an excuse as to why you didn’t succeed, whereas if you try and fail, you have no one to blame but yourself. Don’t fall into this mindset. Classes in school are very rarely pass or fail. If you can put in 30 minutes and it can earn you a B but it would take you two hours to earn an A, at least put insometime so that you can have a decent, if not perfect, result.
- Studying doesn’t have to be miserable. Ask yourself what you can do to make your studying experience more pleasant. Do you like having music on in the background? Is there a favorite food or beverage that you can reserve for study times? Is there a relaxing place that you can go? Figure out what is within your control to make the studying experience more tolerable.
- Schedule a clear beginning and end to your studying. If you have a giant chunk of time when you will be “studying” but you know you will spend most of your time being distracted, you won’t get much done at all. Start with a clear beginning and a clear end to your studying and even though it seems like you won’t have enough time to finish things, you will be far more efficient and focused this way.
- Ask for structure if you can’t get it from within. If you know that you are unable to create a structured study plan for yourself, enlist the help of others to make it happen. It’s just like having a personal trainer to help you get in shape! Here are some ideas:
- Ask a teacher if you can come into his or her room to study so you won’t be distracted by other students in study hall.
- Ask a friend or parent to hold your cell phone or video games for you until you get what you need done.
- Go to your parent’s place of work to get things done after school and then come home when you are ready to have fun.
- Get the studying over with so you can enjoy uninterrupted fun. Realize that you will enjoy watching TV, hanging out with your friends and playing video games much, much moreif you do not have any homework or tests hanging over your head. Don’t try to multitask by studying a little and having fun a little. Focus 100% on studying and you will be much more efficient and effective. Then you can focus 100% on enjoying yourself.
- Get big picture perspective from others on how studying affects things long term. If you talk to your classmates about studying, they will probably just enable you by telling you how little they care about studying as well. Instead, gain valuable perspective and motivation by talking to those who are older than you. Ask them what knowledge and skills they wish they had later in life. What you will probably find is that they wish they had learned the stuff that is much more difficult to learn later on: math and science concepts, foreign languages, better writing and communication skills, etc. If you chat with people who are further along life’s journey, they may help you see the path you should take.
- Remember that you are learning SKILLS. The actual content of what you learn will not be nearly as important as your ability to learn. Will you have to compute the area of a circle every day of your professional life? No, but you willhave to do analytical problem solving. Will you need to know the cultures and histories of different countries to make more money? Probably not, but you willbenefit from being able to put yourself in the shoes of others. Does it really matter whether you have a good essay on a novel you read in English? Long term, it probably won’t, but it will be extremely valuable to know how to communicate effectively. Whenever you feel that what you are learning is pointless, remember that as long as you are learning how to think, read, write, and problem solve, you are indeed preparing yourself for the future.
- Surround yourself with good people. If your friends keep you from achieving your goals and want to bring you down to their level, maybe it’s time to find some new friends. It is very hardto overcome the influence of friends who pressure you into not caring about things – they will make you feel like a nerd and an outcast if you care too much. Keep your focus on your long-term goals and surround yourself with people who will help you become the best person you can be.
- Use your boredom to find more efficient methods! Look at being bored as a good thing! Use your laziness as motivation to find the most efficient method you can to learn what you need in the shortest time possible. For example, if you can’t stand filling out a review sheet, make a study group with your friends and divide up the review sheet among yourselves and share the answers with one another. If you hate learning flashcards, use a site like quizlet.com to make your own. If you hate taking notes while you read, use a site like course-notes.org to supplement your understanding of the text. Learning what works best for you will help you as you go on to college and professional life, because you will have much greater control over how you structure your studying.
- Learn GRIT. No matter what you do in life, there will be times when you need to do something that is not all that enjoyable to do. The better that you can become mentally tough by having a great deal of personal grit, the more likely you can overcome obstacles that stand in your way. Grit is arguably one of the most important life skills that doing homework can teach you.
I hope you found these ideas helpful. If so, please share it with your friends! Thanks, Brian Stewart