One of the most valuable actions you can take as a professional student is to boost your own motivation and learning. How do you do that?
1. Use learning strategies that work. (Here’s a reminder about effective study cycles.)
2. Examine your mindset. The most powerful influence on your grades are your behaviors, not innate intelligence or talent. Do you have a fixed or growth mindset? Check out www.mindsetonline.com to determine which one you have. In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong.
3. Monitor and adjust self-talk. “Self-talk constantly occupies students’ (and everyone else’s) minds. If the majority of those thoughts are negative and self-destructive, they can negatively impact students’ learning efforts ….” On the other hand, compassionate and encouraging self-talk makes learning easier. You will “get this stuff,” you will learn what you need to complete the semester, you can adjust study strategies now to maximize performance during the last leg of this semester.
4. Attribute results to actions: An empowered learner examines or investigates how and what works when they study; empowered learners know they have the ability to change their results by changing behaviors.
5. Know your learning style preferences (but don’t think that’s the only way you learn!): Dr. Jerry Masty encourages students to take the VARK. Once you do that, use active learning strategies that match your preferences. (The Office of Teaching & Learning is here to assist.)
6. Rest, nutrition, and exercise: Schedule them in!
McGuire, S.Y. (2015). Teach Students How to Learn: Strategies You Can Incorporate into Any Course to Improve Student Metacognition, Study Skills, and Motivation. Stylus: Sterling, Va.