How to Stay Motivated - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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May 19, 2016

How to Stay Motivated

When the weather is gorgeous and you have a serious case of spring fever, it can be very difficult to stay inside and study. Unfortunately, while you had your parents there to whip you into shape in high school and a supervisor to do the same at work, you're all on your own when it comes to college coursework. If you're struggling to stay motivated, try implementing these tips into your study routine:

Schedule Carefully

Certain times of the day lend themselves better to studying than others. Figuring out your body's optimal times for various activities may require some trial and error (and a regular sleep schedule), but once you stumble upon a natural rhythm, you'll be unstoppable. Everybody is a little different, but in general, most adults do best with cognitive tasks during the late morning. The average student is most distracted between noon and 4 p.m., so avoid hitting the books during those hours.

Break Work Into Chunks

High school teachers talk incessantly about breaking large projects into digestible chunks for a reason -- it's a genius system that consistently delivers results. Instead of attempting to tackle five chapters and a ten-page paper all at once, make a few smaller goals. You'll feel good about yourself when you check one of those goals off your list, and more importantly, you'll be less inclined to procrastinate.

Use a Reward System

No matter how much you try to think of the big picture, you are bound to be swayed by the thought of immediate gratification. After you've set a small, manageable goal for your next study session, attach that goal to a reward. The reward could be something as small as a piece of chocolate, but it should get you genuinely excited.

Take Regular Breaks

Breaks are essential in all walks of life, but especially for schoolwork. A recent study published in the journal Cognition found that brief diversions reduced the potential for vigilance decrement, or a drop in attentional resources. While the control group's performance on a selected path steadily worsened over time, those allowed two very short breaks were able to maintain the same level of performance throughout the course of the study.

Seek Support

You should never feel alone on this journey. There are plenty of avenues for support, so don't be afraid to use them. A good study group can be a life saver, as your classmates can help keep you accountable -- and you can do the same for them. If you don't have somebody in your class to turn to, set up a study date with a friend; even if you are studying for different classes, you can promise to keep one another on task until all of your studying objectives have been achieved. Parents and spouses can also be great sources of motivation; a call home can quickly remind you why that extra hour with your textbook is worthwhile. If you're really struggling, don't hesitate to take advantage of Geneva's counseling services, which can deliver the faith-based support you need when the going gets tough.

Even high-achieving graduate students struggle with poor motivation from time to time. The key to getting back on track is utilizing clever strategies and seeking support when necessary. To learn more about the excellent support system at Geneva College, contact us at 855-979-5563 or