How do I maintain my effort and motivation?

Long-haul learning

Off-campus learning can be a long-haul journey. An off-campus learner must be able to cope with changes every semester over an extended period of time as it can take much longer than the usual three years of an on-campus experience. A high degree of persistence is also required in continually managing your own learning and your 'other lives' as employee, employer, parent, partner, family member, community member and so on - the off-campus juggle.

Most people do successfully complete their studies; however, the changes you experience as you engage with university learning can also be challenging as you adapt to new subjects, potential failure, higher year levels, new lecturers and a lack of certainty. Maintaining high levels of motivation and commitment can be quite difficult under these circumstances at times.

Recognise you will be standing at the crossroads

The point is that it is normal to find it hard to maintain your effort and motivation. Other off-campus learners describe this when they talk about their experiences. Nearly all students, whether studying on- or off-campus find they cannot sustain their initial level of motivation and put in the same degree of effort at all times throughout a semester - let alone the entire course. So it's important, first of all, to nurture realistic expectations and acknowledge that motivation will lapse at times. However, it is also important to make sure that you get back on your feet and that the work you've done so far doesn't go in vain. One of the defining elements at this point is your own knowledge of yourself. You are, indeed, the only one who can distinguish between a temporary lapse of motivation or a recurrent situation that may require more serious attention. If, based on this knowledge, you recognise that you have a difficulty, then congratulate yourself because you're well on the way to solving it. You can't address a problem unless you know you have it!

There are a number of strategies you might consider if (or when!) you experience this yourself.

  • Keep in touch with your reasons for undertaking off-campus study and find inspiration - motivate yourself.
  • Make a genuine effort to consider whether you should continue: don't just put it off or you could face expenses without the benefit of another subject under your belt! You might consider contacting your Faculty administration Opens in a new window to discuss this in terms of withdrawal dates for your studies, or discuss the issue with Counselling services Opens in a new window. Make use of the self-help resources Opens in a new window produced by the Counselling Service on topics of transition to university, skills for independent learning, stress management, general wellbeing, improving memory and concentration, overcoming procrastination and passing examinations.
  • Get back in contact with what you know about yourself. Re-visit your capabilities and approaches to learning by working through relevant parts of Learning inspirations. Re-engineer your approach to study and try new approaches.
  • Ensure you stay connected with your learning community. This may be all you need to sweep you up again in the enjoyment of your tertiary learning journey.