How to stay motivated in post-secondary

You have a lot more freedom after high school, so how do you stay on track?

Jan 5, 2016

One of the weird things about post-secondary is that no one really seems to care what you do. Nobody calls your house if you don’t show up to class, no one chases you around to get your homework, and nobody checks on you to make sure you did the readings.

This means that you have to be self-motivated to get your work done—and trust me, if you’re interested in what you’re studying this isn’t as hard as you might think.

Choosing the right program

While it can be tough going from high school to post-secondary, if you choose a program that engages your attention and challenges you constructively, you’ll be more motivated to do the work. Don’t waste your time studying something you just don’t care about, take the time to reflect on your interests, skills, and ambitions, and do some research to figure out which programs are best suited to you.

Seriously, if you care about what you’re studying, you’ll want to work hard at it.

Post-secondary can be a ton of fun if you’re learning about something you love. So, if you don’t like math (like me), don’t take a program that’s based in math. It’s simple! I haven’t had to do math, social studies, or english homework for over 4 years because I enjoy sciences, so that’s what I study.

If you liked math in high school, maybe try engineering in post-secondary; if social studies was your thing, check out political science or history. There are so many options out there, you just have to find one that’s right for you.

Things to keep in mind

As for staying motivated as a post-secondary student with this newfound independence after high school, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Remember that school costs money
    First and foremost, remember that you’re paying the big bucks to go to school as a post-secondary student. There are all kinds of ways to help pay for school (scholarships, loans, grants, etc.) but the bottom line is that it ain’t cheap. That simple fact should be enough to motivate you to go to class. Every time you skip class or blow off an assignment you’re wasting your money. You’re paying thousands of dollars for about 13 weeks of education each semester so if I was you I’d make it worth my time and money.

  2. Maturity means taking ownership of your education
    You’re kind of an “adult” now, so you have to pretend like you know what’s going on when you’re out in public. You also have to show a certain level of maturity when it comes to your schoolwork (especially when it comes to group work—other people are counting on you!). The bottom line is that you’re expected to care about your education. Your instructors and your classmates assume that you want to be there and that you want to learn.

  3. If you're not ready, do something else
    If you’re unsure about pursuing post-secondary right out of high school, then consider other options! Do something constructive with yourself, find a job or travel and see a new culture, but don’t go to post-secondary simply because you think you should. If you ask me, maturity comes with learning about yourself and figuring out who you are, and once you have an idea of what makes you tick and where your talents lie you can really start to work on becoming an independent person—and a successful post-secondary student.

Just think, if you take the time to choose a program that really interests you, you’ll never again sit in class and wonder “Why am I learning this?” The answer to that question will always be simply, “Because I enjoy it.” And that’s a pretty cool feeling.


Health and Public Safety

MRU Bachelor Of Health Science grad returning to SAIT to mix in a Medical Lab Tech Diploma who just wants to go skiing already.

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