by Christiane LaFleche – Team Leader, Peer Learning Assistant Program
November in Kingston……We have reached the time of year when we’ve gotten a few marks back, we have gotten to know our professors a little bit, and sometimes we feel disappointed. The professors may be hard markers, they may not be so interesting, and we may not agree with everything they say.
How do you stay motivated? What I find is that I do not need to be completely happy with the whole course in order to enjoy it. I find small things in the course that I can relate to. I find that I get annoyed or frustrated with a class because I feel like I am not succeeding in it, or I am unhappy with my understanding of the material. I just don’t feel completely competent. When this happens, I try to change the perception of myself. In psyc we learn about “styles of appraisals”; that is, how you evaluate information in your life. If you always blame things on yourself, it will be really difficult to enjoy what you actually do have. Instead of blaming things on something personal or internal, try to see what else is going on: Hard marker, test difficult, course content advanced etc. If you tend to generalize bad situations ,try instead making them specific to the one at hand: “Okay, I got a bad mark on this test, but it is not because I am dumb, it is because the test was hard, it was the first one of the year, I didn’t know what to expect, and it will get better! ” And finally, if you tend to look at thing as being stable: “I forgot to read that textbook today, it doesn’t mean I am always going to be an irresponsible procrastinator, rather, I needed a break today, tomorrow I will get back on track.”
At the end of the day, you have to have hope, and you have to be kind with yourself. 🙂
Be happy with what you have. Listen for people who will help you and motivate you, and tune out the rest. Then you will truly be able to start enjoying learning for what it is, and worry less about your marks, your prof, your boring classes. Find ways to enjoy what you are doing now, because it is enough!