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T O P I C     R E V I E W
Member # 3535
 - posted February 22, 2005 18:47
Ok so here's my problem. I'm in 10th grade right now and I'm looking to get into a good college, but I'm barely scraping along with a 3.0. I've never had to study for a class in my life until this year. I probably could have entered high school when I was in 4th grade and still have gotten a 3.0. I'm not a dumb guy (180 IQ, scored over a grade level of 14 in every subject on a basic standards test), but my problem is my work ethic. I was put in a ton of honors and double/triple accellerated classes because of my test scores so I have a ton of homework every night. I can usually get myself to do the bare minimum of homework, but I need to start studying regularly. Anyone know how I can stop procrastinating and start a regular study habit so that I can get a 4.0? Any help is appreciated!
Member # 2814
 - posted February 22, 2005 18:55
Sorry, no one can motivate you but yourself. You have to want it, and have to suck it up, and kick your own ass into gear. No one else can do it for you.
The Famous Druid
Member # 1769
 - posted February 22, 2005 19:01
Just think of a career saying "Would you ike fries with that sir?"
Member # 2854
 - posted February 22, 2005 19:03
Okay, here's what you do:
1. Throw away your TV.
2. Disconnect from your ISP.
3. Delete all of your games on your computer.
4. Throw away your Xbox, GameCube, PS2, NES, whatever.
5. Destroy your magazines.
6. Turn off your cell phone.

Once that's done, you'll have removed a lot of the distractions in your life. Now, come up with a reward plan: Ask a friend or family member to give you pre-set rewards when you finish your assignments. As you continue to be positively reinforced, you may discover that you enjoy your subjects and want to learn more. You may also learn that you don't like them, but you'll develop the discipline to keep studying.

If all else fails, on test days you could show up naked with beer. [Razz]
Cap'n Vic
Member # 1477
 - posted February 22, 2005 19:07
Seriously. Go get a job shovelling pig shit, working in a factory or manual labour. When you are at work one day, take a look a some of the lifers around you. Guys 40-50 years old with lifeless eyes. Trapped in a dead end job because of a mortgage and family, living hand to mouth. That was motivation enough for me to pull it together.
Member # 2918
 - posted February 22, 2005 20:19
As a young'un (ok, I'm still a young'un, I'm not fooling anybody) I used to get sick a lot, because of the way my lungs are sized/shaped, and because my Eustachian tubes don't drain right. Mononucleosis, strep, flu, sinus infection, bronchitis, pneumonia ... often combinations of them, too. It sucked, big time. Between 8th grade and senior year, I missed maybe 4-5 months of school (if anything, that's an underestimate, not an over). For example, I took my sophomore chemistry finals (normally taken in January and then again in June) in May and in June. Thank goodness I'm beginning to get over that ...

Anyway, it really improved my work ethic; I became very good at self-motivating and self-teaching because, quite frankly, I couldn't count on anyone else. My parents and teachers helped a lot, but I still needed to be very self-reliant at that point. It sucked the big one, but I have a pretty dang good work ethic now, and tend to do much better than similarly-talented classmates in situations where the book is the major resource (i.e., teacher doesn't teach, etc.).

Seriously though, my advice would boil down to the relatively obvious: set goals. Buckle down and study when you know you should. Take notes, but do it right - don't copy everything, just basic points, then use those to quiz yourself. If worse comes to worst, then block slashdot.org or whatever site(s) you fritter away time on in your hosts file, at least during your study sessions. Don't procrastinate; if you know you'll finish a project early, that's ok - it leaves you time to deal with emergencies involving both that project and external stuff (other classes, etc).

Finally, grades are not the end of the world. Do your best to get good grades, but if it doesn't work, it doesn't mean you didn't learn the material. I got a B in AP Physics, for example, but ended up with the highest score possible on the exam. I expect to do the same this year in AP English (though for different reasons ...).
Member # 371
 - posted February 22, 2005 21:10
Capn actually has a pretty good idea. I didn't shovel pig shit, but I did muck out some calf pens for relatives, and a couple of evenings catching chickens in a laying house was dealing with enough shit for me to know that I would rather use my brain than my back to earn a living. But it was a good way to get some gas money while in high school.

I can't help you as to what will get you motivated. I coasted through high school. But then again my school was so small that there wasn't anything for advanced placement, etc. I just did all my homework in the 10 minute bus ride between buildings, and never took anything home. Left lots of time for extra-circular stuff. And no - that didn't involve girls or booze as I was a geek and goody-two-shoes then - well I'm still a geek, but a happily married with kids geek now. I really enjoyed doing FFA, Student Council, AFS, Band, 4-H, etc. etc. etc.

I can tell you that as I grew up, my parents moved when I entered 3rd grade. It sucked. But for some reason even at that age I made a decision to stop having a disorganized mess at school and actually quickly finish stuff. That stayed with me - at least until college. Sounds corny now looking back at it and thinking that my youngest is now that old. I guess in my case the big shake up in my life helped me focus on school.

I don't know what college admissions people look at - but a 3.0 with lots of hard classes would look better to me than a 3.9 with easy classes.
Member # 1941
 - posted February 22, 2005 21:21
Now bear in mind my advice comes from a serial procrastinator, so this is probably how it's meant to work, not how it actually does [Wink]

Firstly, set goals as someone has said. Then break the goals into smaller bits and smaller bits until they are easily measureable. Unless you can track your progress, you won't know where you are or how to start. Make sure your goals and targets are realistic, and build in a moderate amount of "down time".

Secondly, use your leisure activities as rewards for achieving your goals. This is why you need to do that first step, since "Achieve a 4.0 GPA" is a goal which will take a while to achieve, and no leisure whatsoever until that is achieved is obviously unrealistic.

Thirdly, to borrow from "The Lion King", put your behind in your past. If you procrastinated yesterday, wipe the slate clean and treat today as a new day or opportunity. That cycle of underachivement is difficult to break otherwise.
Member # 3262
 - posted February 23, 2005 17:39
All great advice. You and I share the exact same problem. The thing that helped me the most was getting to know my teachers personally. It may seem kind of unfair to the other students, but teachers are more willing to extend help to those who they like. I'm not saying suck up - rather, let your teachers know how smart you are by talking to them. Talk about current events, talk about the programming project you just finished, talk to them about the really cool indie film you're making. Whatever it is, become more than a face in class. When teachers get a clearer view of who you are, and you let them know that you CARE and are willing to work with a little helping hand, they are more likely to extend themselves. Most people have been where you are - especially teachers.

This may have seemed a bit rambling, but it's the best advice I could give anyone. It's what allowed me to graduate college. When I got into trouble, the administrators were willing to help me because I had so many people in my corner. The head crew coach, the head of my major's dept., all my teachers. They went to bat for me because they knew I was worth the trouble. Of course, when I got into trouble I realized I never wanted to be there again and started working 50X as hard. [Big Grin]
MTB Babe
Member # 2297
 - posted February 24, 2005 08:04
Originally posted by The Famous Druid:
Just think of a career saying "Would you ike fries with that sir?"

Thats what motivated me through most of my college years! [Razz]
Member # 3549
 - posted March 05, 2005 13:38
Back in the olden days of high school, I can't say I ever really had that problem, as I'm a chronic over-achiever. Anytime I had to motivate myself to complete an assignment or to study, however, I would remind myself that I wouldn't ALWAYS get shoved into my locker for being smart, and that someday I would be going through the grocery store checkout line and see one of the jocks or cheerleaders bagging my groceries. That was good motivation, lol.

I took a moment and did a little research, and I found the following sites/articles/tips that may help you to get motivated:

Article with 8 tips on getting motivated

On study motivation in general

Mental preparation and motivation for tests

An annoyingly red site with some decent tips for finding motivation to study

Hope that helps in some way.

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