Sometimes learning can be really boring. Let’s admit it- you don’t always feel motivated to study. No one does. And that’s okay.

This is because our motivation often comes from different sources and we often don’t know how to control our impulses. Instead we allow these fleeting moments of motivation tell us what to feel and subsequently, how, why and when to study.

Our most common source of motivation is extrinsic. “I am studying because inserts reason– I want to get good grades, apply for a scholarship after school, get a good job, secure my future…”.

This is simply when you get motivated by future possibilities and plans- basically something you look forward to and is hopefully strong enough to get you through the days you don’t feel like studying.

Intrinsic motivation, however, is determined by the process of learning and internal rewards you can get from the actual learning. It could be the excitement of going over your study material and discovering something new.

Or it could even be the feeling of getting into comfortable clothes, settling down in your organised study environment, putting on calming music and having your favourite drink close by.

For example, when I started third year, one major motivation to study was the feeling of gaining useful knowledge. Because of the new pathology, pharmacology and internal medicine courses we started, I was always excited to just discover something profound and feel like an actual doctor.

This kind of motivation can keep you going even when you can’t quite visualise the future reward of your learning or you can see it, but only as a delayed gratification which we aren’t always ready to work for.

These are a few reasons why you may not be feeling motivated to study in the moment:

1. People around you are not: One way or the other, even subconsciously, we begin to copy the behaviour and lifestyle of people that surround us even when it doesn’t necessarily agree with our own core values.

You notice that there is a fresh dose of motivation when you and your friends have just finished discussing a class topic. At that point, all you want to do is just get back to your corner and learn more.

One way to salvage this situation and not depend on your environment for motivation is to set your own expectations. You must constantly review your behaviour and where you are to see if it aligns with your goals.

2. Your circumstances: If all is not well, school and studying cannot be a priority. There are times when your mental health is not in place, your physical health is failing or you’ve got financial issues or family/relational problems.

During these periods, motivation will be the last thing in your mind and you just can’t get yourself to study the way you’d want to. What you can do- recognise and accept this reality.

If you really can’t do much, give yourself some space, show yourself some grace and take time to adjust. If there is something you can do, then try to put things in their proper place as much as you can.

3. Lack of inspiration: Sometimes you just don’t get how this topic or subject can be interesting no matter how hard you try. The truth is, in this day and age, it is not easy to be interested in educational activities because social media offers instant pleasure by providing us with constant entertainment with little or no friction at all.

And because the reward for most academic work is usually pushed into the far future, you don’t feel excited to learn anything in the moment. You have to understand, however, that motivation is fleeting since it is often not based on present, tangible realities.

We must all learn that real, substantial growth is often slow and the only way to get through the present is to learn to enjoy the process and see the intrinsic value of our immediate work.

So, get a system in place- a workflow that will set things in order when you can’t depend on motivation. Download Notion, create a schedule, organise your environment/devices, get friends to keep you in check.

Understand why you are learning in the moment: to challenge yourself, attain a level of growth intellectually, or even get a satisfying sense of accomplishment and be proud of yourself every time you learn something new.

That feeling of achievement is worth the effort. Rely less on your natural sense of motivation this week and truly enjoy your learning process.

(Book Inspiration: ‘The Only Study Guide You Will Ever Need’- Jade Bowler)

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7 Responses

  1. Funmi Ajibola says:

    It’s the way your posts are relatable and packed with helpful tips for me! It’s evident that you put in the work and you’re definitely gifted. God bless you 💕

  2. Martin says:

    Wow thanks alot I got value

    Real substantial growth is slow and I will enjoy the process

    Creating a schedule and sticking to it

    This will be a great week🤝

  3. Yinka says:

    Great piece as usual.
    Thank you!

  4. Ojo Victor Emmanuel says:

    Thanks for this encouraging piece.

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