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Old 02-04-2005, 08:08 AM   #1 (permalink)
beauty in the breakdown
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
How to motivate myself?

Im in a bit of an interesting position at school. Ive always had a huge thirst for knowledge, and for most of my life, have read at least one book, many of them nonfiction, a week. The problem is, I cant seem to motivate myself at school, to learn/study things not necessarily of my choosing. Im a sophomore at Chapel Hill, and despite my being an excellent test taker, very good at writing, and an excellent reader, my GPA is only a 3.0--and its directly because I never study, and I know it. In fact, those test taking, writing, and reading skills are probably the only thing keeping me afloat. Its not for any lack of desire to learn; I just cant seem to make myself study, or write that paper, or read those chapters. When it comes down to it, I always end up goofing off, or writing some code, or reading something of my own.

Can anyone think of anything to get me motivated? I realize its something that I must figure out largely on my own, but any books or anything that could help me would be greatly appreciated. I know I have to ability to do very well in school, I just need to make myself do the work.
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Old 02-04-2005, 08:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: Pennsylvania, USA
I had that same kind of problem. Things improve a little as you finish the general education courses and move into those that deal with your major, but I'm still stuggling with that problem at work.
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Old 02-04-2005, 08:37 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Imagine yourself competing for a great job or spot in a great graduate school in four years.

But you can't compete because your GPA is too low.

And believe me, there are lots of people out there with 4.0 GPAs. People will see your record and conclude exactly what you said. "This guy seems to have a motivation problem" or "this guy isn't too bright" and will likely pass you over for someone who looks better on paper.

Are you prepared for that?

If not then I'd say you need to get off your a$$ and demonstrate that you can discipline yourself.
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Old 02-04-2005, 03:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: Sudbury, Ontario
I have escatly the same problem. I have the intelligence and the abililty to do well. I have a thirst for knowledge and am extremly interested in my feild. I just can't get myself to do work. Through the years I would do maybe one assignment per course and pass the rest on tests, I'm good a picking up stuff from class when I go so it works. As my classes get harder I can't possibly do this anymore so I'm forcing myself to do work. Something I find works for me is to set up a time limit for myself and work in intervals. What I do is set up a timer for fifteen minutes and during that fifteen I must work. Then when it runs out I'll set up the timer for X minutes to break. Then repeat. It's the only way I can get any work done.

Another thing I find that helps is mental imaging. I used to play alot of sports and im a competitive guy, very stubborn as well. So if I can picture my lack of work doingness as an opponent I can get myself to work out of spite for my opponent. Its a little silly but I'm damned if I'm going to let him beat me.

Its about knowing yourself and knowing what will push you do to this work. No magic cure though, its all you.
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Old 02-04-2005, 06:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Location: WA
I'm working on another degree right now and I'm in the same boat as the rest of you. Frankly, what it comes down to is, I don't like busy work. And that's what these "professors" seem to be putting out these days. It's like they've gotten lazy or something. Giving out the same assignments, the same tests every semester and all you have to do is call the last guy that took their course to get pointers. It's like they don't want to motivate anyone to learn anymore. Just come in, read your chapters, take your finals get your sheepskin and be on your way. And they expect us to motivate ourselves about their tired boring lectures week after week? I know, it might sound like an excuse, but the teachers can put forth at least some effort to at least make their material a little more interesting so that people would be a little more motivated to do well in the course.

Since there's pretty much no way around it, the main motivational factor for me to get through these courses is that I can't get the next job up the career ladder without this degree I'm working on right now.

In the end, it comes down to reading that book week after week looking forward to what lies ahead.
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Old 02-04-2005, 07:16 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Location: Canada
I kept reminding myself that courses I did not choose, but had to take, were but a stepping stone.

Sure, they're mostly boring, but in the end, they'll be gone pretty quickly and you'll be moved on to bigger and better things.
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Old 02-04-2005, 09:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Location: Tokyo, Japan
3.0 is not bad, but do not drop anymore.
Good to see another UNC system student.

I am going to UNC Charlotte, was always about to transfer to UNC, choose to transfer to Japan in the end though.

As you work your way through college you become accustomed to the system. You start studying for the tests. There is not much you can do; it is because you are smart that you are making tradeoffs.

Sometimes the effort to go from B to A really is not worth the suffering. Do not destroy the present for the future.

I will assume that since you said "write code" that you are a computer science major. This is a rough major because all of the cool stuff you want to do is Grad level. AI, VR, graphics, and signal processing, its all Grad courses.

So do what I started doing, take graduate courses while your undergrad. Takes some networking to talk to all the right professors. The added challenge of these courses and the different teaching/life style of graduate classes will help motivate you!

And if you like games, think about UNCC we have just started a game design certificate program, its all-graduate school.

Granted I have already passed all the bullshit General ED classes, and those are what will kill you. My in major GPA is very nice, but itís the GE that drags it down to 3.3.

Oh and think about studying abroad, it is a great opportunity.
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Old 02-04-2005, 09:38 PM   #8 (permalink)
beauty in the breakdown
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincentt
I am going to UNC Charlotte, was always about to transfer to UNC, choose to transfer to Japan in the end though.
Im actually from Charlotte. UNCC is a nice school; I might be taking some summer classes there in some things I want but dont have time to at UNC-CH.

Quote:
Sometimes the effort to go from B to A really is not worth the suffering. Do not destroy the present for the future.
I totally agree. Part of the issue is that Im not willing to sacrifice my ability to do things with my friends for an A in some cases. Obviously, Id like to do the best I can, but if getting an A requires me to become a slave to the books 24/7, well, Ive decided that there are things that Ill look back on 20 years from now and value a bit more than time spent in the library.

Quote:
I will assume that since you said "write code" that you are a computer science major. This is a rough major because all of the cool stuff you want to do is Grad level. AI, VR, graphics, and signal processing, its all Grad courses.
Im actually an Econ major, CS is a hobby of mine. Ive worked internships with CS for the past 4 summers, and decided that I dont want to write code for a living nor have my job sent to India.

Quote:
Oh and think about studying abroad, it is a great opportunity.
Way ahead of you on that one... Im planning on spending all next year in Germany.
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Old 02-05-2005, 07:42 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Location: Chicago
I had a similar problem in college. I graduated with a 2.97, even though I earned a 3.5 average in all my education courses. My core classes brought down my GPA. I suffered the consequences of my failures and lack of motivation. In order to get my Master's degree, most universitied require that you have a 3.0 or above. If you do not you have to take a ton of tests to prove yourself. I did not have the money to take all the tests since they are over $100 each. There are some universities that have a lower GPA acceptance, but my choices were very narrow. I am going to University of Phoenix - Online right now, which is a very strenuous program. I spend about 40 hours a week completing the work for my class.
Anyway, it is shown that if a subject does not relate to the learner, then there is a lack of motivation to learn it. As an elementary teacher, I have to find the connections for my students. However, in college, you have to find your own motivations. Even though I am obtaining my Master's degree to further my education, my main motivation is to get a better job with more pay. I also wanted to prove to myself that I could get a 4.0. I am proving to myself that I can have a 4.0 even though some of the classes are of no use to me right now and painfully dull. I have completed 21 hours and have recieved all A's.
Motivation is different for everyone, but if you can find an intrinsic motivator, rather than an external motivator, you will be more likely to succeed. You have to want to do it for yourself. Of course, rewarding yourself with icecream, a beer, or a vacation for a job well done can be good as well.
You have to find a reason that works for you.
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Old 02-06-2005, 10:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
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It is important to remember that your are the sum of your actions. Your ability to earn a higher GPA is a fabricated if you lack the willpower and comitment, the mental ability means nothing.
 
Old 02-08-2005, 09:27 AM   #11 (permalink)
Crazy
 
Location: Central Wisconsin
On the same note, how can I motivate myself back in my career? I think about it a lot, I enjoy my job, I'm good at it, but not as motivated as I used to be. It's as if I've reached the goals I've set, and now the goals are controlled by higher ups and promotional processes.... Sure don't get easier.
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