What keeps you lifted?



Joy TaMar Moorer

Junior criminology and justice studies major David Parish said the beginning of the semester was easier than what it is now. Classes and schoolwork seemed more stress-free, and there was an excitement about attending classes. Parish said he was looking forward to what the semester had in store for him. 

However, now that he’s in the middle of the semester, Parish said something has changed. He said he’s lacking incentive and enthusiasm when approaching classwork and attending classes. 

“(In the beginning) I felt like my classes were going smoothly. I felt that I was learning different things. It was enough work that I felt didn’t stress me out, but enough to keep me busy,” he said. “Now it’s the middle of the semester with exams and classes … it’s just getting old. It’s repetitive. It’s hard to stay motivated.”

Parish is just one of the students at Kent State who believes going to class and completing homework feels like a chore. 

“I try to take it step by step, but it’s hard to,” Parish said. 

Psychology professor John Dunlosky said this lack of motivation comes from student’s inability to set goals throughout the semester. He also said there’s more to staying motivated throughout the semester than telling oneself to stay motivated. 

“One can’t be motivated if one doesn’t have any goals,” Dunlosky said. “Motivation is a goal-oriented idea.”

When there’s an absence of goals in a student’s life, Dunlosky said they begin to become uninspired to do work. Tasks become tedious and this is where the lack of motivation, the lull, begins to take place. 

“No doubt student hit lulls,” Dunlosky said. “Because often times their goals are too lofty like ‘Oh, I want to do well in a class,’ or they don’t set any goals at all.”

He said it’s important for students to create specific goals for themselves. Not only long term semester goals, but obtainable short-term weekly and daily goals. 

“Students have to be their own reward mechanism and punishment enforcer,” Dunlosky said. “Too often students don’t develop goals on a daily and weekly basis, so of course they aren’t going to feeing motivated because they really don’t know what they’re trying to obtain.”

Brandy Richards, a sophomore communication studies major, has her own way to put herself back on track. 

When she’s feeling like she’s not motivated to do her schoolwork, she said she talks to her family. Those conversations, she said, remind her about everything she’s invested in her academics. 

“I have to call my parents,” Richards said. “I’ll call them tell them I wanna drop out of college, and they’ll remind me that I’ve invested too much to drop out.”

Other students, such as sophomore early education major Jasmine Price, look inside themselves to find what they need to stay motivated. Price said that by starting her day out positively, it’s easier for her to stay motivated. 

“I get up, I get active,” Price said. “I smile and think positive thoughts. I look toward the end result and focus on that.”

Praying is what Parish said helps him stay motivated. It reminds him to take everything one step at a time, despite how difficult it may be to do so. 

“I pray,” Parish said, “and I just remember that I can take it one step at a time and because I’m praying and I know that God has my back, I don’t have to stress because eventually it’s going to be over and I’ll do well.”

Dunlosky said whatever positive route a student may take to remain motivated, they should keep, as long as it is working for their benefit.

“Anything that is helping you get up to go to class, keep using it.” Dunlosky said. “There are many things that help a person show up (for class).

Contact Joy TaMar Moorer at [email protected].