By Janet Athanasiou
Student Affairs Liaison at APUS
Getting through a college degree, whether you’re an undergraduate or graduate student, needs some serious motivation. Once the enthusiasm and excitement of going back to school or starting something new wears off, you still bear the burden of balancing work responsibilities, family commitments, deadlines, discussions and assignments.
Balancing responsibilities as a student can be overwhelming, especially for adult learners. Rather than giving in to what feels overwhelming and giving up, here are some tips to help you stay motivated to make it through your degree program:
- Understand what motivates you. Start by thinking about what you have accomplished and what helped you get through tough tasks in the past. How can you use those same accomplishments as motivation to get through the tough task that is ahead of you?
- Go back to your original goals and review them. Why did you start the degree in the first place? What is stopping you right now from getting your degree?
- Make a detailed list of what you will need to do. If you’re in class, review what work still needs to be done and make a schedule you will stick to in order to succeed. When you schedule your next class, know your upcoming family time and work schedule. If you’re about to take a vacation or embark on a big project, don’t add a class to that. The benefit of online classes that start every month is that they are designed to fit into your life!
- Articulate your goals. It’s helpful to review your goals and their pieces with someone you trust. That person can provide you with encouragement when you need it.
- Use your university resources!
- You have a team of willing advisors who will listen, provide guidance and resources, and be a sounding board to help you progress. We’re here for your success, so use us as much as you need!
- Talk over your goals and concerns with your instructors as your class begins. Make sure you understand the outcomes and expectations.
- Make use of ClearPath to connect with other students, find a mentor, and explore virtual communities centered on geographic locations, programs of study or shared interests.
Making the decision to obtain a degree is a big step, and you’ll need to maintain that motivation you have at the start. Following the above steps will help you stay on track.
Connecting with your Academic Advising team can also arm you with resources to get your motivation back when it starts to wane. To reach your academic advisor, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 877-755-2787. Good luck as you progress through your degree, and we look forward to seeing you at commencement in 2017!
About the Author
Janet Athanasiou has worked for American Public University System since 2011, holding positions such as Academic Advisor, Senior Manager of Advising Schools, and Graduate Academic Advisor. Prior to that, she worked as a Residence Coordinator for the University of Alberta in Canada. Her academic credentials include a bachelor’s degree in history from Dalhousie University and a master of education degree in counseling psychology from James Madison University. Janet is currently working on her doctoral degree in higher education and higher education administration at George Mason University.