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Keeping Your Motivation in Online Classes During the Holidays

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By Dr. Kandis Y. Wyatt, PMP
Faculty Member, Transportation and Logistics

How do you stay motivated in your online classes, especially during the holidays? The schedule for online classes is traditionally different, because most brick-and-mortar schools begin the holiday break in mid-December to give students nearly a month off from their studies.

However, online students often have a more rigorous class schedule that extends through the holidays. Even though the University allows you to determine your course load and when to take your classes, it can still be a challenge to get your classwork done during the busy holiday season.

Motivation and Discipline Drive Your Success

Motivation and discipline can apply to just about any aspect of your life: work, home, health, finances and your schoolwork. However, motivation is only one part of the puzzle toward achieving academic success.

Over time, your excitement wanes, life events throw you off track and suddenly your motivation for completing your online classes begins to fade. So in addition to motivation, discipline is needed, which involves making choices and developing a deep commitment to complete your goal of achieving a degree or certificate.

Discipline helps you to move forward in your classes even when you feel unmotivated. However, you’ll also need to develop a balanced schedule, manage your time wisely, and create habits to help you be successful both in the short term and the long term.

Success in the classroom is directly related to your habits and your discipline. The challenge with habits is that they are easy to dismiss but hard to sustain; it’s also essential to let go of bad habits such as procrastination. Motivation, therefore, is needed to help you achieve life goals and avoid repeating small failures through making poor choices.

Developing a ‘Do or Die’ Attitude

For most people, their inner drive often comes from some sort of unfortunate and unplanned event, and it fuels them forward with an unbridled passion. This event can be a layoff from work, mounting bills or the need to assist family members. The event often inspires people to pursue new endeavors and learn new life skills, so they can adapt to a new situation.

Difficult situations often cause people to develop a “do or die” mentality, which has pushed many individuals past the finish line to accomplish their academic goals. Developing this type of attitude forces you to move toward completing your academic goals because failure is not an option.

Related link: Training Your Brain: Six Tips for More Effective Learning

Goal Setting Is Essential

To achieve your academic goals, it’s necessary to clearly define those goals and the steps you will take to accomplish them.

It will be necessary to change your outlook and become more disciplined. Discipline is vital in online classes, because it will ensure that your studying and your assignments are completed on time.

Related link: 5 Essential Tips for Remember for Your First College Class

Tips for Staying Motivated

When it comes to online classes, your motivation helps you focus on completing classroom objectives. Remember that every decision and action you take moves you further toward your goal. Completing a certificate or degree takes strong motivation, grit, effort and perseverance.

Here are some suggestions for staying motivated in your online classes, especially during the holidays:

  1. Reaffirm your goals now. Write down why you want to obtain your certificate or degree and what you want it to bring you.
  2. Create a vision board. A vision board can include inspirational quotes, images and pictures of your goal. It’s a visible plan toward meeting your goals. Post your vision board in a place that you can see every day, such as a bedroom wall, a living room wall or some other location.
  3. Be consistent. Set aside time each day to study, complete assignments and interact with fellow students. Do not neglect to do what you can do in the moment.
  4. Set the environment. Are you a morning or evening person? Do you need noise to study? Understanding the best time and location to focus on your classwork can really make a difference.
  5. Be present. Getting the most out of an academic course means fully immersing yourself in the learning material. Do the best that you can for every discussion, assignment and interaction. You get out of academics what you put into it.
  6. Develop accountability partners. Tell friends and family members about your graduation date and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your academic goals. Tell your colleagues about deadlines for assignments, and talk about your academic progress regularly with peers.
  7. Find ways to add gratitude to your journey. Keep a journal where you highlight the big and small gains. These “gains” could involve meeting a submission deadline, leading a discussion or getting an A on a quiz. The little gains end up making a big impact, and the little wins turn into big successes.
  8. Be realistic. Do what you can in your online classes, and don’t beat yourself up by comparing yourself to others. It’s okay to adjust your academic workload to meet competing demands from your personal life or work life. If you know that you will be stretched thin during the holidays, consider modifying your coursework and take courses that will match your time commitment.
  9. Ask for help. The University offers several services to help students, including tutoring, career planning and academic advisors. It’s important to utilize these resources to stay on track, stay motivated and ultimately reach your goal of completing a certificate or degree. Do the best that you can, and ask for help when you need it.
  10. Focus on the future. Accountability partners can be academic or non-academic, but they need to prioritize helping you move toward success and celebrate your victories. Be clear on what you want to do and where you want to go in the future.

Success is a journey that requires good habits, and motivation is a result of good daily habits that lead to specific results. Even though you won’t see your goal of earning a certificate or degree come to fruition for years, maintaining your academic motivation will fuel the effort needed to meet your goals, especially during the holiday season.

Dr. Kandis Y. Wyatt, PMP, is an award-winning author, presenter, and professor with nearly 30 years of experience in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM). She is the creator of the Professor S.T.E.A.M. Children’s Book Series, which brings tomorrow’s concepts to future leaders today. A global speaker, STE(A)M advocate, and STE(A)M communicator, she holds a B.S. in Meteorology and an M.S. in Meteorology and Water Resources from Iowa State University, as well as a D.P.A. in Public Administration from Nova Southeastern University. She is a faculty member in Transportation and Logistics for the Wallace E. Boston School of Business and specializes in Artificial Intelligence (AI) in transportation, education, and technology.

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