By Cassandra Stanton
I am currently a junior at Georgia State University seeking a major that changes more frequently than seasons, but ultimately desire to become a writer. Literary Fiction is a style I’d be most pleased to master, poetry is a guilty pleasure. I also have great interest in philosophy and find the subject to be fulfilling and contributory to deeper, personal learning. My most prevailing short-term goal is to visit Europe in the next few months and live in unknown countries to absorb the cultures that hold mystery to me.
Submerging from summer or winter break into a new semester requires a certain mindset– one that is eager for knowledge and can access the necessary mental endurance required for the next five months– but more importantly, one that can be obtainable by any type of student. The hiccup associated with giving students advice is the use of blanket-identifiers laid over the heads of all learners, eradicating specific needs and addressing students as if they’re all the same. Pulling from my observations of scholarly, young adults and the experiences I’ve had as a meandering student, I hope to two issues and provide applicable advice to students of variety.
Motivation: Whether the subject is fascinating or meticulously dull, students will face the gritty existence of disinterest in schoolwork. In addition, whether the student is a diligent member of the university populous or in attendance by pressure alone, distraction induced laziness can grip and shackle their mental capacities. My contribution to the pesky case of motivation is an aesthetic and self-attuned approach. Put yourself in an environment that inspires, calms, or delights you. This could be a coffee shop with that just-right hue of wall paint, or sprawled on your carpet with candles and snacks in tow. The point being, allow the act of doing work to be romantic. Even the most school-opposing student cannot deny the picturesque fulfillment of being somewhere pleasing while bettering themselves. Let the romance stem from the active participation with yourself and the information being attempted. Talk out loud, discuss and argue internally about the material you’re trying to ingest as a win-win approach to challenging yourself.
Expectations: While creating goals with thoughtful structure for desired results can be excellent guidelines for those that get off track, expectations are a certain breed of goals that can create stress-inducing limitations. Students with preconceived notions about the class, professor, and workload will almost always be disappointed in one category while dissatisfaction bleeds into the others. Instead, students need the mindset of adaptation rather than expectation. Especially in the case of professors (whom I deem to have major impact on class outcome) students need to allow egos to be set aside and room made for acceptance of unexpected classroom antics. Do not expect the respect of professors but rather observe and adjust yourself as their student during their class time. This allows a malleable response in your mind giving the professor a chance to intelligently influence you. The energy being volleyed between students and teachers is a fundamental tool that can be used to both advantage and disadvantage. If you expect a participation grade for simply showing up and not participating, professors are aware of your disconnected energy. Adaptation has been a renewing approach to my success with varying types of teachers and classes.
Students undertake pressures that are personal and dueling, but I’ve found solace in the simple adjustments of my expectations and motivation techniques; interpret this advice to your benefit and rediscover the satisfaction of learning again.