What is discipline as a student

Motivation in studies : "I just lack self-discipline"

Ms. Reysen-Kostudis, you help students with self-motivation. Why isn't a person self-motivated to do something that he has chosen - namely to study?

The decision on a subject was often not necessarily in the hands of the student. Sometimes the section just wasn't enough for the desired subject. Other students have wrong ideas about their studies and are disappointed. Still others were full of enthusiasm for their dream subject at the beginning, but this feeling often subsides - it's like in a relationship when everyday life returns after being in love for the first time. The inescapable routine and certain adaptations in coping with difficulties that lead to disappointment can greatly dampen the euphoria at the beginning.
And then?

Motivation will only be maintained if these challenges can be mastered in a positive way, and not least if the quality of life is improved. Problems that arise are normal and should not be the reason, for example, to give up an entire course of study. Instead, you should keep asking yourself: “What worked? What is good? ”- but also“ What did not work well? ”And then correct any errors.

Is a lack of motivation related to laziness or even laziness?

No. There are people who admit to their laziness, who even see a gain in pleasure in doing nothing, and thus deliberately delimit themselves from external claims. The students who come to me often say: “I just lack the self-discipline.” They are then ashamed of their supposed laziness, despair of it. This is not a gain in pleasure, but an inner degradation of your own person. The solution to such a problem can be an analysis of the mechanisms that led to the loss of the drive.

In winter it is dark and cold when the alarm goes off. How do you motivate yourself to get out of bed anyway?

I found a good morning routine for myself. When the alarm goes off, I get up, make myself a cup of white coffee and turn on the heating in the bathroom. Then I sit down in bed for another ten minutes, drink coffee and look through my notes for the day. Everyone should try many ways to find the right routine for themselves.

You even speak of the "art of self-motivation". So it's not a trivial thing?

] I speak of “art” because I mean the creative aspects. I create something and construct my life. It's not just about making a plan and then sticking to it. Opposition to this will quickly develop. Rather, our pleasure center must also be addressed. I have to realize that I live better if I stick to my plan and that I get closer to my goal. I often ask students to imagine where they want to be in ten years. Then there are images that have enormous power: The students imagine having a family or a job that they really enjoy going to. The emotions are important to achieve the goal.

An exam or a homework can pile up like a mountain in front of you. There is a tendency to prefer other supposedly important activities such as vacuuming. How can that be avoided?

If you analyze your priorities, you will quickly find out for yourself: You only use vacuuming so you don't have to study. Then it helps to put vacuuming in the afternoon in the daily schedule, when concentration is already waning anyway. Some also say that they clean the apartment because they have more sense of achievement doing it than learning. Then it would be important to design the learning in such a way that you have a sense of achievement in the evening: for example, by checking off the chapters that you have read or repeated.

Bad grades or failed exams can mean that students can no longer motivate themselves - with the consequence of further bad grades. How can the vicious circle be broken?

Bad grades are demotivating at first. But if you can understand what went wrong, you can learn from it and cope with it. But if you have long-term failure, you should ask yourself whether you are studying the right thing.

Some people say of themselves that they can do the most under time and exam pressures. Others cannot concentrate under pressure from fear. So are there different strategies of self-motivation depending on your nature?

It is important to find the right level when planning. Some come to me and say that they can only start their bachelor thesis when they are registered. But that is too late. You should therefore clarify your questions and collect material before registering, even if you only start writing after registering.

Being able to motivate yourself is one thing. But what can the teaching staff at the university do to ensure that the students are not so unmotivated in the first place?

Especially in the first semesters, the professors and lecturers should clearly explain what they expect and give a lot of feedback. This happens too little, especially with presentations. Presentations are important because you not only practice presenting your knowledge, but also yourself. This is required again and again in later professional life. But often at the university it is not discussed what was good about the presentation and what could be improved. There is no learning culture. It would be good if the seminars had more of a workshop culture instead of frontal teaching.

Can self-motivation be practiced in the course of life in such a way that at some point it hardly requires any effort?

When I've learned in the past that it is worth making the effort, it becomes easier to motivate yourself. Life experience also helps to focus on the essentials, to question goals and to reject tasks from time to time if they do not suit you. You can't be good at everything. - Anja Kühne asked the questions.

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