Ten Motivational Tips for the Non-Traditional Student

MOTIVATION. It's what all non-traditional students need sooner or later. It's that little boost that we all need sometimes.

And just how do we get it? Sure we can be self-motivated. In fact, that's why many non-traditional students get enrolled in school in the first place. We know that we need to go back, that we want to, and we have a pretty clear idea of what we are doing it all for.

But down the road, the studying, the sacrifices, the plain sheer work of it all can catch up with us. The late nights and early mornings can add up, too. And some non-traditional students could do with some extra motivation.


#1. Write down your goals. Take a sheet of paper and just write down WHY you are going back to school in the first place. Do you want a better job? Do you yearn for a higher salary? Think about the reasons you decided to go back to school in the first place.

Your hard work IS going towards something valuable. Put these goals down and post them where you can remind yourself whenever you need to - - about the reward for all your hard work.

#2. Refresh yourself. When you find yourself getting down and thinking that your efforts aren't appreciated or that it is all too much, take a break. Go for a walk - take a hot bath - or pamper yourself with a low-calorie snack or healthy smoothie.

The old saying "too much work and not enough play" can be true. Try to break up study sessions with stretches or meditation. A little reward can be very motivational.

#3. Read some stories about other non-traditional students who are going for their dreams. You can find some at the non-trad site. You can find others at your local library or on the internet. When you find a great story, share it with me or others.

Some people really overcame hardships and succeeded. Reading about them can help you realize that you can, too!

#4. Go to some Non-traditional student meetings. Do you have a group at your school or college? If not, you can make one yourself. The National non-traditional student group ANTSHE has a book that tells you all about how to do that.

Sharing with other students your own age can help a LOT and give your motivation a huge boost.

#5. Think positively. Motivation comes so much easier with a calm and focused mind. Are you active in your church or religious group? Perhaps attending your group regularly can put you in a more positive frame of mind.

There are some great positive magazines that I use to help me improve my mind and my mood. One is Positive Thinking magazine, one is Daily Word, and another is Science of Mind. One of these magazines or sites or another one may be beneficial to you, too.

#6. Celebrate your successes. Have you done well on a test or project? It is really OK to pat yourself on the back. Give yourself a reward! Tell your friends, spouse, or family! Let each success, no matter how small, encourage you and motivate you to keep trying.

#7. Visualize your success. Know that all you are doing is for a reason, is part of your personal Plan for Success. Every class is a stepping stone towards your eventual goal. Imagine yourself succeeding before you have done it.

What will your graduation be like? Your new job? All the new friends you will make there? All these things are just a small part of the many positive changes that will happen for you because you are taking classes now. Thinking about your future success can be very motivational.

#8. Make friends with your teachers. Yes, you CAN talk to your professors or teachers. Your teacher can often clarify assignments and help you stay motivated as well.

When a teacher speaks to you with respect and caring, you can feel good about yourself. And when your assignments are understood better because of a conference or just a question or two, you feel even better. And that can motivate you to keep on.

#9. Get organized. Take a little time to set your books out for the next day - to have everything laid out for yourself. This will cut down on stress. Also, when your life is going more smoothly in all ways, you will have more time for homework.

When you have more time, you will get more done. Then, you will feel better about yourself. Presto, chango - more motivation.

#10. All in all, motivation comes from within. You can be your own cheerleader. So what if nobody else understands why you are going back to school?

Even if you do have a supportive spouse, parents, family, or friends, the fact is that YOU are a strong person.

Keep telling yourself this - - and all the other good things about yourself that you can. Build yourself up. And before you know it, you will be even MORE motivated to keep going and to succeed.