In secondary and high-school, I was the good student. I was the productive student. Sure, I did procrastinate sometimes, but all in all I did the work I was supposed to do and I did quite well. When I joined university, things changed. I was no longer what I would call “a good student” and the F I got on one of my exams the first semester made me think that was a conformation of exactly that.
For me, the transition from high-school and the university was bigger than I had first anticipated. I`m not sure what exactly I had imagined, but it was when I joined university that I realised how much of a difference there is here between 13th grade and first year of university. In high-school we have to work more independently with the subjects, but the syllabus is not that huge. Also, the teaching methods were different. We`d read book, watch movies, prepare presentations, write essays and do exercises in our course books. At university, I`ve mostly had lectures and seminars to deal with, and one exam at the end of the year. Especially in the courses that are directly related to social anthropology, which is what I`m studying. The first two semesters especially, the work load seemed so huge. We had so many articles to read and I just didn`t know how to tackle them. I wasn`t that motivated and procrastination slowly became a friend of mine. One would think it`s so easy to sit down and get work done, but no, it obviously wasn`t that easy in my head.
I don`t know exactly what made me feel so unmotivated, but one factor that didn`t make things easier at all was the fact that most of the first semester, my grandmother was admitted at the hospital. At the end of the semester she died. I spent much of my time with her, which I don`t regret at all, but I also had to deal with school and sometimes I tried. It`s not like I didn`t study at all; I did meet up with a few students to discuss the syllabus (which I mostly hadn`t read), I attended every single lecture and almost all of the seminars and did have a lot of notes, but I guess that doesn`t help as much as it perhaps have should because I wasn`t motivated and didn`t find my own way to deal with the studies.
I was very sad when I received my first F ever during the first semester. For some time I felt like a failure, and it wasn`t something I talked about. I didn`t tell my friends about it, because I didn`t want to. I ended up not feeling like a good student anymore. It was the kind of feeling that just wrenched your body and makes you feel bad. A grade made me feel that way. I had to tell myself this (which I also wrote on my blog about a year ago and which is something I believe more people need to hear)”: WHAT EVEN – sometimes life happens, sometimes things don`t go according to the plans and sometimes you have to try again. Feeling that way sucked for me, and it made me realise how so many others must be feeling. The feeling of failure, the feeling of not doing enough or being enough, especially when you`ve been doing so good for a long time. It`s easy to feel alone about failing your exam, even though the statistics show that`s not true. But, you`re not alone and it`s okay if you`ve failed your exam. That doesn`t mean I recommend you to fail your exam(s) – put an effort and give 100. Sometimes, that`s not the easiest thing to do. You feel unmotivated, you`re not focused and life happens. Sometimes things don`t go your way and that`s okay – just make sure you get up and keep trying.”
I won`t say that I forreal got up and kept trying. I did do more work, but still wasn`t that motivated, I didn`t have a proper study schedule and there were many times when I was supposed to syudy, but didn`t. It seems kind of far-fetched now and in my head right now I`m like “did that really happen?”. Time has passed by and it`s been 2 and a half years now. Two years I spent studying in Norway and a half year I`ve spent in the Netherlands. I`m not sure how much, but the time I`ve spent in the Netherlands really has motivated me to work. Maybe it`s the teaching method we`ve been using, which forces us to be active and speak up in order to learn as much as possble, or maybe it`s the interesting topics we as a class have been discussing together. Maybe it`s the whole experience; I`m not exactly sure, but now I really feel motivated to get work done and hopefully get better grades the upcoming semester. I want to find out what works for me and work harder.
Feeling like this honestly makes things better. Motivation makes you feel more energic, more “on it”, more dedicated. It makes you actually want to get things done and be productive. I`ve been trying to work on my motivation for some time now and I`ll definitely be using some tools when I began the last part of my semester in the Netherlands next week. I`m going to write a post about motivation tips, as I know there are many more out there that lack motivation and don`t know how to just sit down and get some studying done.
I hope someone out there found this post inspiring and motivational. Remember that somethings things do go left instead of right. Remember that a grade doesn`t define you or your future and also remember that we`re many students out there who have been struggling or are struggling. Who don`t know how to balance it all. You`re not alone and you are for sure going to make it. 🖤 And in order to make this a more motivational place, let`s share the highlights and lowlights. Are you a student? What has it been like (so far)? Have you ever gotten a grade which has made you doubt yourself or your skills? How do you motivate yourself? Share your advices, I`d love to hear them, as well.