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Counseling & Psychological Services
Montana State University
P.O. Box 173180
Bozeman, MT 59717-3180

Tel: (406) 994-4531
Fax: (406) 994-2485
Location: 211 Swingle
> Counseling & Psychological Services
Counseling Services

Motivating Yourself to Study

There's nothing more frustrating than wanting to do well in school but lacking motivation! Motivation can be a complicated matter, but the following are some suggestions which can help you be honest with yourself in this respect. If you would like to explore yourself further, Counseling & Psychological Services will be glad to give you a hand.
  1. First of all, determine why you are in college. There are many reasons, of course, but learning should be your top priority. Some reasons which people often place as a higher priority are:
    • parents wanted you to come
    • all your friends came to college
    • college is better than getting a job
    • college is one big social partying bash, so you came for the fun
    • it's the only way to get a start as an athlete
    • you're here to find a spouse
    • you didn't know what else to do
  2. Explore your abilities, interests, and values and look at career options in a field you would be good at. (Don't waste time pursuing something you'll never achieve - some of us aren't cut out to be doctors, lawyers, or the president!)
  3. Choose a career direction as soon as possible. Not necessarily a specific profession, but an idea at least. Remember, it's your career so don't let others persuade you.
  4. When you've decided your career direction, choose a relevant major.
  5. Motivation is directly related to attitude. Try to develop a positive attitude about yourself, your professors, school, etc. (If you choose a negative and angry attitude, think about the effect that has on your performance).
  6. College is not like high school. You must take responsiblity for yourself and everything you do here, from your physical/mental health to managing your money.
  7. Without neglecting your reason for being at college, be sure to take advantage of the intellectual, social and physical opportunities on campus - you know what they say about "all work and no play ..."
  8. Work out what you'd like to achieve, and set some appropriate goals. Write them down, and work out how to accomplish them. Review them periodically and see how you're doing.
  9. Dwell on your successes and not your failures. By all means try to understand why you don't do well in all things, but focus on what you're good at - and feel good about yourself.
  10. Unrealistic expectations lead to anger, and false hope leads to disappointment. Don't expect too much from faculty, staff, campus facilities, etc. Don't allow your perception of their inadequacies to get in your way.
  11. You are in control of your college life, regardless of what others demand of you. You're not in jail; you can leave at any time.
  12. Is your motivation dampened by fear of failure or success?
  13. Be flexible and adaptable.
  14. Remember, motivation comes in degrees. Don't worry if you have ups and downs. But, if your downs are more common that your ups, you should make an effort to find out why. Then do soemthing about it.


View Text-only Version Text-only Updated: 12/17/08
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