The Unmotivated Student

A student face palmed on his textbook and surrounded with many books and a glasses
“Student stress” courtesy NEAToday.org

Every day millions of students across the country are faced with the responsibility of juggling college classes while still trying to meet obligations outside the classroom. A full-time student will take at least 12 - 15 credit hours per semester. These classes can range from one to three hours long and be held two to three times per week, and may require additional time online, depending on course requirements.

Kathy Pierre of USA Today in a 2014 article cited The National Survey of Student Engagement that found, “The average student spends about 17 hours each week preparing for classes.” Add working to pay bills, and any extra-curricular activities a student may be involved in as well as managing a home and family, and the responsibilities combined multiply to an exhausting level. What started off as an eager and driven student passionate about his or her success can quickly turn into the student that is faced with an unbearable amount of anxiety and lack of motivation. For many, the reality is that there just isn’t enough time in the day, and their responsibilities and worries don’t always stop when they leave school; in fact, in some cases those worries can become even greater outside of school.

Henry Ford College has partnered with faculty members to create a workshop designed to motivate the unmotivated student. The workshop titled “Mid Semester Blues” is focused on helping struggling students regain the focus and excitement they may have lost throughout the course of the semester through discussions and guidelines that are easy to follow. The workshop is one of three held every semester for students here at HFC, which focuses on key points such as “Reflecting on what you have learned,” “Thinking Ahead: Access your Learning Process,” “Prepare a Plan of Action,” “Meeting with your Professor(s),” “Review your Schedule” and “Taking time and to Do You.” Through these key points, questions are formed to help the student further understand his or her strengths as well as identify challenges in a course.

One of the biggest misconceptions about college students is that as adults, they are fully capable of handling “the real world,” when that is a false assumption. In fact, college students are at an even greater risk of falling victim to depression and anxiety.

I am one of thousands of students struggling to overcome typical everyday obstacles and still remain strong while juggling classes, midterms and a personal life. From the very beginning of the semester this year I have found myself in a bit of a rut when it comes to managing my time and classes while also trying to create productive study habits in my down time. Although I cannot attest to the thoughts and feelings of other college students, one thing is for certain: I fully understand feeling unmotivated. For what has felt like months, I have struggled with depression that at times felt unbearable and never ending. While this has been a lifelong battle of mine, it wasn’t until just this year that it began to have a severe impact on my education. Being that this was a shock for me in the beginning of the semester, I became unwilling to ask for help from anyone in fear of admitting I could not handle things.

Since having the opportunity to visit the “Mid Semester Blues” workshop on motivating the unmotivated student, my outlook on my future as well as the goals I set for myself daily has changed dramatically. I have been using some of the strategies I learned.

If I had to offer any advice to unmotivated students who have struggled as I have, I would suggest to remember why they started on this journey in the first place. I’d say to remember that at all times and allow that to be the driving force to help accomplish goals, whether big or small. The worst thing a person can do is to start a task and half way through forget why they started in the first place. Take this opinion piece I wrote, for example. I was unmotivated to write it, but I managed to finish it, and I now feel the satisfaction of accomplishing what I set out to do.

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