For What It’s Worth: The End

How do you stay motivated when your reasons for motivation are gone?  Econ blogger Kate Alaks tells us how.

Kate Alaks

How do you stay motivated when your reasons for motivation are gone? Econ blogger Kate Alaks tells us how.

Kate Alaks, Opinion Editor

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So, it’s almost graduation. People are counting down the days, and now they can use the fingers on one hand. As the Big Day draws nearer, it gets noticeably harder to focus on classes and homework. Regardless of how long you’ve had senioritis, of if you’re even graduating or just waiting for summer vacation, sometimes it seems like the last days (or weeks or months or years) don’t matter any more.

So how do you stay on top of things? How do you keep on caring?

This might be a little late for Seniors. But anyone else, take note!

The most obvious incentives for staying on task are the ones the school gives us. Seniors can exempt from finals if they’ve got an A in the class, (or a B, if it’s an AP class). Since most people don’t like to take finals, they’ve got an incentive to do as well as they can. Is it worth it to blow off this worksheet if it means you might have to take an hour and a half long test at the end of the year? No, not really.

Of course, that doesn’t work for everyone. Sometimes people really just don’t care. Sometimes there is no way a person can bring their grade high enough, and after that first incentive is gone, everything seems to be gone.

The second school-sponsored incentive, though, is that you might fail. Ideally, graduating high school would be nice. So if the reward doesn’t get you to work, the punishment just might.

Another thing to consider, if you are college-bound, is that colleges often require final transcripts. You don’t want to miss out on college opportunities just because you slacked off in high school.

But this seems pathetic. Does senior year really have to be just going through the motions, putting on a good show so that you can get out of the school?

Sometimes if feels like that, but it doesn’t have to.

When you’re fighting with the registration system before Senior year, sign up for classes that interest you. Not just the easy ones, but the ones that you might actually care about doing well in. Maybe an art class will give you a creative outlet, or sociology is a subject that sounds really interesting. Try your hardest to get classes with teachers who will challenge and motivate you- talk to past or existing seniors for advice. Don’t shy away from AP courses as a rule, but don’t overload yourself to the point where you just give up.

Of course there are required classes. See the “graduation” incentive above.

Look for any scrap of interesting information you can find. Try to find something that relates back to your primary interests, be those books or video games or music or sports, and then remember that (if nothing else).

At the end of the day, though, it’s still a cost-benefit analysis. If you’re slacking off just to be lazy, you might want to reevaluate. But if you’re letting things slide so you can finish a masterpiece, or apply for scholarships to get into college, or do something that might ultimately matter more, then don’t let overwhelming school stress run your last year.

It’s your call.

About the Contributor
Kate Alaks, Opinion Editor
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Kate Alaks is actually from the 60’s. As a child, she fell through a wormhole in time and space and ended up in the 21st century. As such, she is not very good with 21st century technology. She also frequently obsesses about the Beatles, Doctor Who (she really likes both the old series and the new series), Star Trek, Godzilla, and numerous other things with origins in or near the sixties. Even though, happily, most of these have been revived to some extent in today’s culture, she still misses the cheesy special effects of the good old days. On the plus side, she got to grow up with Blue’s Clues and the Magic School Bus.

While waiting for the Doctor to come and straighten out her timeline, Kate (aka Kadet Marshmallow) is now a senior, and is reprising her role as Clarion’s Opinion Editor. She is planning to continue her Freakonomics-style column, For What It’s Worth. Besides Clarion, Kate is in Eco Club, GSA, and NHS, and is a black belt in TaeKwon-Do. She spends her precious free time compulsively writing, watching Star Trek, quoting things randomly, and stressing out about applying for colleges.

You can email Kate at [email protected]


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For What It’s Worth: The End