“I need your help” my friend said to me today. I waited for a request to look over some work or something of the sort but instead he said, “Motivate me.” I looked at him quizzically, wondering how on earth I was supposed to help him with that.
The problem with motivation is that it has to be self-created.
In education, it can’t be enforced. There has to be something that you yourself are aspiring to, a target that is achievable but not easily so. This is important because if for example, your aim is to get into university but the grades you have to get are comfortably within your grasp, then it may not motivate you enough to study hard. Therefore, those who have been accepted into university but have been granted slightly ambitious offers are in the best position as exam season falls upon us. It is this factor which will push you out of bed on your days off to get up and revise early in the morning. It is this factor that will sit you down and make you complete those ever so important practice papers and it is this factor that will ensure you prepare in the best possible way for your exams.
A further reason why it was difficult to advise my friend was because I have noticed a drop in my own motivation. Last year, it was Oxford University that drove me to study hard whereas this year, being met with a rejection has left me dejected. Normally and throughout my educational career, getting the highest grades was quite a strong motivator but it feels like I am at the end of the road now and that gaining A* grades will have no other benefit than for people to go WOW, which is not something I hold important. As the Easter holidays approach however, I have told myself that it is time to jump onto the revision wagon and do as much as I can. The most important way to revise in this holiday is to sharpen my exam technique through completing past papers in timed conditions. Timed conditions are important as often, students will spend hours on an essay but they will not have that freedom in the exam and so when the clock starts ticking, they will be left floundering.
So if you are short on motivation, think long-term. Not general ideas like oh I will study hard to get a good job, but a solid target such as working hard to get into your first choice university or getting great grades to make your A2 year far easier.
Of course, if someone promised to pay our tuition fees for us if we achieved A*s in our exams, then libraries would be packed, classrooms would be filled and the college canteen would be silent save for the scratching of pens on paper.