How are your classes going? Are you getting good grades?
I know for many of you the excitement of starting classes may have worn off by this point. It may have worn off the moment you realized that there is actually work involved.
It can be difficult to keep the energy levels high and stay motivated to do your work. I am shocked by how often I hear people say “I got a 76% on that test” and they get congratulated as if it was a 96%. Perhaps you are one of those people? A letter “C” grade is enough to get you by, you will still pass your classes and you will still graduate… but I must ask, are you getting anything out of it?
Sure, you get a piece of paper that says that you completed the required courses, which is great! You can go out and get a job with that. But beyond the paper, what have you gained? Did you learn anything cramming for that first test of the semester? I find it quite safe to assume not.
“But it’s so hard to get an ‘A.’” That is actually not at all true. You have an “A” from day one, everyone does. What can be difficult is maintaining your “A.” While there is no “one size fits all” method to keep you motivated through all of your work, I am willing to share a few tips that have worked for me.
1. Reward yourself. I have found that when I have something more to shoot for than simply a letter grade, I can get my work done faster and more efficiently. These rewards can be anything from allowing yourself to watch a funny cat video to buying that book you’ve had your eyes on forever.
2. Don’t cram. Speaking from personal experience as well as words that have been repeated to me (and likely you as well) many times. My Biology teacher (shout out to Mr. Cradick) offered his class an excellent study format to follow to keep our minds fresh so that we can absorb the maximum amount of information. Only spend 30 minutes at a time studying. If you need to study for longer, take a ten minute break every 30 minutes. Your brain is a muscle, and when you use any muscle for too long it breaks down. But when you take a break you have a chance to refresh your mind and learn even more.
3. Multi-Read. Another tip that my Biology teacher shared with his class (a method that I have used since I was homeschooled) was to read the book three times. The first time you aren’t really reading more than simply glancing over the headers and pictures (it shouldn’t take you more than five minutes per chapter). Then you sit and read through the text, but do not take notes. This step is simply for comprehension, and you may need to repeat this step if you are reading complicated text. Finally, read through the chapter and take notes (note that I do not say “highlight,” though you can if that is what works for you). Try to make each point as brief but detailed as you can (remember, your notes are supposed to help future study sessions move quicker, not be a rewrite of the text book).