The other day while I was working, a co-worker asked me how my spring semester went. After explaining to him that it went fast and well, I told him that I was taking an online may-mester. He replied, “An online course? How does one get motivated for an online course?” “Ironically” I said, “I am taking motivational psychology.” After a moment of laughter, I thought to myself, “How will I get motivated for my first summer class?” I was so happy to be done with school, and after a short break I’d be thrown into a busy working summer mixed with more homework. As aversive as that sounds, taking five courses next semester sounded worse. Perhaps that was my motivation for taking a may-mester, but after reading this first chapter, I realized that avoiding a five class semester was my incentive. I continued to think about my motivation for going to school. What is moving me into action? I had to think for a few days about this question, because I have to be honest, I would rather not be in school. Yes, I do enjoy most of my classes, but why do I suffer through the stress of having to complete assignments, study for tests, deal with my procrastination, and commute three or four days a week? I began to realize that there is a hierarchy of things and events that motivate me. At the top of my motivational hierarchy is my daughter. My daughter living a happy and healthy life is truly my overall motivation for all of my actions. She motivates me to wake up and work or go to school, live a healthier life, and be a better person.
Before she was born, I was attending James Madison University and I failed my first assignments and tests in all of my classes. This caught me off guard because I was distinguished honors in high school, and now I was failing everything I tried. I put in a lot of study hours and skipped none of my classes, but there was a lack of motivation. I did not like my classes or my major, and earning a degree was not a big enough incentive for me to do well. However, after hearing the news of my future child, my motivation was born. I came back to Jersey a new man, got a job and enrolled in the next semester at ACCC. After 4 years of school, split between ACCC and Stockton, I have made the Dean’s List every semester. I never changed my style of schooling, but I now had a reason and a motive to do well. Motivation is a strong thing, strong enough to make the weak survive and the underdogs prevail, and it certainly gives life purpose. If you have no motivation, you have no purpose.