With few exceptions, this time of year is generally the beginning of “Back to School” season. Stores are setting up their displays of notebooks, pencils, planners, backpacks, and anything else you might think you need to be a successful student this year. There’s a feeling in the air, similar to the anxious happiness of New Year’s Eve: that sense of being on the edge of something new and being able to leave behind the mistakes of last year and move forward, unburdened. You have a pile of clean, crisp notebooks to finally start writing neat, concise to-do lists. You think, this will be my year. It’s the year you leave the less-than-perfect grades behind and stay motivated and driven the entire school term.
And then, a few weeks go by. Things aren’t so new and fresh, and you got your first low grade, or missed an opportunity to do something, and the sense of “why bother, there’s always next year” sets in.This is true for all of us; no matter how much we love what we’re learning or how focused we are on our goals, most of us hit that slump and we lose the back to school state of mind that propelled us forward through September. It can be even more of a struggle to stay motivated when you’re a non-traditional student at a non-traditional school.
Whether you’re finishing your high school diploma, working on an associate degree in business management, or pursuing a promotion with a retail supervisor diploma, your back to school season is any time you choose to start. That could be three months from now, before the winter holidays, or an hour after you read this. No matter when you start, you can still approach school with a back to school state of mind; you still have that fresh determination and excitement. In traditional brick and mortar schools, when you fall away from that state of mind, you have teachers and professors pushing you to get back on track. Online, from a distance, you’re left to keep yourself motivated. So how do you hold on to that back to school state of mind year round when you don’t have someone constantly looking over your shoulder, reminding you why you need to do this work?
Keep your goals in mind. That’s the best advice for any distance education student. Concentrate on exactly why you enrolled and what finishing your program will do for you. Getting that high school diploma is going to not only make you proud that you finished, but help you out on job applications and maybe even a promotion or raise at work! Or maybe you’ve always wanted to start your own business and you finally have the opportunity to do so? Think about the customers who are going to love your product and the independence you’ll have being your own boss. A lot of students who are also parents go back to school for their children. This could be to inspire them and let them know they can succeed too, or to have better job opportunities to make their lives easier.
There’s no bad reason for going back to school. When you feel that slump coming on, take a moment to sit in front of your desk or a second before power up your tablet and think about what you’re there for. You can keep a back to school state of mind wherever you are in your studies by starting every day fresh and keeping your eyes on the prize!