How to get motivated for school

Grace Schutte

More stories from Grace Schutte

May 10, 2023
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Real talk, friends. Sometimes I get overwhelmed when the school year begins to ramp up to the point where I don’t even know where to start. 

Luckily, there’s a trusty little website called wikiHow that I go to for tips and tricks to help get me back on track. Today’s mission: how to stay motivated for school.

Part One: Learning to Value School

“Imagine the life you want as an adult,” wiki says. “School may be boring on a day-to-day basis… but remember that without school, you won’t be able to live the life you want as an adult.” 

Hold up. 

Right off the bat, I disagree. 

By claiming that school is vital to survival in the adult world will only motivate struggling students out of fear instead of the desire to learn. 

This mentality wiki presents is also one that doesn’t acknowledge the intersectional disadvantages many students face when it comes to applying for college — whether that be a matter of social class, institutionalized racism, or the capitalist desire to perpetuate poverty. 


Steps two and three I find more reasonable. The website talks about being insightful about the skills necessary for a dream job and a bit about networking too. 

Part Two: Setting Yourself Up for Success

This part is nothing groundbreaking. It briefly goes over the importance of keeping an organized calendar, creating a good environment to study, and maybe going so far as to study with a group. 

While I would agree having a community that encourages and sustains learning is positive, it also assumes the student has the time to meet up and spend late nights with friends. In reality, many students have other obligations, such as work and taking care of their families. 

So far, wiki has a habit of excluding non-traditional students from their equation. 

Part Three: Attacking Your Goals 

I like this section. 

I know I was just harping on wikiHow, but I’ll admit when they’re doing something right. For instance, this idea of breaking larger tasks down into more palatable, bite-size pieces.

Like, yes. What a great way to simplify a seemingly overwhelming task. 

And next, reward yourself after finishing assignments. Double yes. It is incredibly healthy for students to work on validating their needs and recognizing when they need a break. 

“Create consequences for yourself,” wiki says next. 

I take it back. 

Part Four: Practicing Focus and Concentration 

Look, if you want to meditate, summarize readings, use mindfulness tricks, breathing exercises, and raise your heart rate — go for it.

I don’t think any of these strategies will harm you, but their effectiveness depends on the student. This is a good time to do some self-reflecting — soul-searching, I suppose — to learn if you could benefit from these. 

Part Five: Making Lifestyle Changes to Stay Motivated 

By this point, wiki is pulling the classic look-out-for-your-physical-health-too card. They endorse getting lots of sleep, eating healthy, and exercising, which we’ve all heard before. 

Will these all improve your learning experience, general wellbeing, and longevity of your life? Yes. Please do these things. Do I do them always? No. Should I? Yes. 

Moving on. 

A Better Version 

While I have some qualms with wikiHow, I do think there are some good starting points in this article. 

Like imagining the future you want, for instance. But, I’d add considering all potential routes to get there. Don’t feel obligated to go to school because that’s what everyone else is doing. 

Next, if you’re going to do school, commit to it. Participate in class, talk to your professors, establish connections with your classmates. If you’re struggling in a class, bond with others over how you’re all failing together. 

Sometimes finding that comradery is enough to get you to the right resources to help you succeed. 

Think about the future. Visualize what it is you are working for in the long term. Keep your eye on the prize. 

Finally, and possibly most importantly, make yourself proud. Work to put yourself in a position where you can reflect on all you’ve done and feel good. 

If nothing else, do it for you. 

Schutte can be reached at [email protected]