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Studying How to feel motivated to start learning?

  1. Oct 23, 2016 #1
    Well, I'm a physics undergrad student and I am in the second semester. I feel unmotivated most of the time, I need to spend some hours reading textbooks to engage in a subject (And get amazed about it), but this requires time and willpower.
    Sometimes I got some time after class to study with my friends, but I can't concentrate with then around and don't know an educated way to leave and study alone. (And I just can't do it, I would feel guilty somehow).
    My university is in my hometown, so I live in home with my parents and study in Uni. (2 hour travel, everyday, and I can't read in the bus)
    In home is a little better then the library, I can just stay alone in my room, however my parents disturbs me every hour.
    I don't know an easy way to get motivated to study, even the subjects that I like most.
    Even worst, I got few hours to study in the weekends, but feel tired and procrastinate a lot, but somehow I Manage to read some theory and do some assignments.

    Anyway, I got average scores and I know that I can do better than this. What should I do?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 23, 2016 #2

    Stephen Tashi

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    Science Advisor

    It also requires adequate sleep and freedom from worry about non-textbook topics.
    Are you getting enough sleep and exercise? Is your inability to excuse yourself from your friends due to some social anxieties?
  4. Oct 23, 2016 #3
    Go out & try to get a desirable job without a degree. That usually does it.

    Seriously, tho...

    I was unmotivated, depressed about my mediocre grades, anxious after my Sophomore year in Engineering School. I needed funding for my education so I got a seemingly lucrative job as a tugboat deckhand in the Gulf of Mexico servicing oil drilling platforms. Then later as a roughneck laborer in a pipe yard in South Louisiana. I made a pile of money over the summer that paid for my education. Survived near death on several occasions, made it back to the Fall Semester with all of my toes & fingers still attached thank God. I told myself I ain't doing that again, and worked like a madman to improve my grades. And did, too.

    I used a simple formula: Turned the TV off, eliminated all distractions, managed my time, repeatedly told my girlfriend "no, can't right now", learned an EFFECTIVE METHOD OF STUDYING, and started putting in 12-18 hours a day. My grades jumped to A-level on all courses. I DID NOT want to have to go back out on that tugboat, and never did. Schoolwork was easy compared to dangerous manual labor. But "A" grades indicates exceptional and that requires exceptional levels of effort. One has to decide how badly they want it.
  5. Oct 23, 2016 #4


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    Education Advisor

    1. For dealing with friends that are disrupting your studies you might consider having some specific time to socialize and then finding another place where you can go to be alone on campus, maybe a different library. Put in your ear plugs or head phones and turn the rest of the world off while you're working or reading. Make it clear to them that you value them as friends and you're trying to ignore them, but you need to put more time into your studies.
    2. At home, you might try the same thing with your parents. Set up a schedule where you can study uninterrupted.
    3. When studying figure out a way to minimize other distractions. Unplug your computer. Leave your cell phone in another room, etc.
    4. If home study isn't working consider moving closer to campus. Two hours out of every day can be a massive time sink. I know financially it might not be the best, but you have to weigh that against the cost of not achieving your goals. If you had even half of that - an extra hour every weekday - to study, would that lead to an improvement in your grades?
    5. Building on Stephen's advice above: remember to take care of yourself. Get adequate sleep. Eat properly. Get exercise. Make sure that you have constructive down time. Socialize. Often students can feel tired and lose motivation because they're lethargic, not sleeping well, or have pent up energy that's not being put to good use.
    6. Figure out what it is that really motivates you. If you can, spend some time just reading for fun and personal interest. I know at the end of the day, when you're up to your eyeballs in assignments the last thing you want to do is read more physics, but often it's the self-directed stuff that amplifies your motivation.
  6. Oct 23, 2016 #5
    I agree with Choppy. I also did live at home with my parents ~1 hour away from my university for some time, but I found that I enjoyed school much more (and did better) when I moved close to campus and lived by myself. Yes, it was more expensive, but it was worth it. You'd be amazed at how a change in environment can impact your motivation.
  7. Oct 23, 2016 #6
    I sleep enough, around 7-8 hours a day, but I haven't done any exercises last 6 months, gained weight about 11 pounds.
    I'm looking for a way to get back to the gym, or do some running, I miss exercising.
    About social anxieties, I never thought about it, but I think so, I feel irrationally anxious sometimes, I've noticed this since high school.
  8. Oct 23, 2016 #7
    I will try this simple formula, I've tried some effective methods and some work, but all of them require a lot of time.
    I'm scanning my routine and trying to change to the most optimized as possible.
  9. Oct 23, 2016 #8
    Does your university have a fitness center that is free for undergrads?
  10. Oct 23, 2016 #9
    1. Great Advice
    2. I already tried, I didn't work. But I can change mu schedule
    3. I do this already, but I'll try to take it more seriously
    4. I'm thinking about it, but I don't have the money, and my parents will not agreed.
    5. Working on it.
    6. Thanks, I will try some self-directed stuff!
  11. Oct 23, 2016 #10
    No, but there is new one near home that is pretty cheap. I will try out this week.
  12. Oct 24, 2016 #11
    So you say: but all of them require a lot of time.

    Forgive my old-school thinking, but I teach in a University now and get this all the time from my students of this generation.

    I will do you the honor of being blunt...
    You're in school, the MOST important thing in your entire life because it sets you up for the remainder of your life.
    It's crazy-expensive in time & money. NOTHING else matters at this time. It should require ALL your time, and you shouldn't waste a millisecond of it. There will be time enough for fun & games later.

    Anything less than that is insufficient.

    Now clearly having pegged-over on the Crazy Old Coot-O-Meter, I'm realistic about reserving time for socializing & exercise etc. But I hope you are getting the sense of what I mean.
  13. Oct 24, 2016 #12
    He's right. A full time course load in a science or engineering major is a 50-60 hour per week commitment to do it right.

    Anything less is squandering an opportunity and wasting the money of whoever is paying for it.
  14. Oct 24, 2016 #13
    I've struggled with lack of motivation and depression. I tried a bunch of things over the years to solve my problems. I'm pretty productive now, so I think I might be able to offer you some advice.

    If you spend a lot of time on web sites, such as forums and streaming video sites, perhaps you should consider quitting. I think it's a problem since in the short term, sites like that are just so much more entertaining than work. I blocked all such sites on my computer, and I find it much easier to concentrate on work. Now, whenever I'm not working I'm thinking "This is boring. I wish I was working." I really encourage you to at least experiment with it.

    If none of that works, perhaps you should consider consulting a psychiatrist regarding medication. I realize that drug use is controversial, and you would have to weight the costs and the benefits, but it could be something that greatly helps you.
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