Research Proposal: Seeking motivation

Motivation is a fluctuating force. There are times where people can be motivated to creatively, practically or physically complete tasks in their life. University can be something that feels as if motivation is void, and although most universities are trying to introduce initiatives and ways of student interaction, there are many students struggling to maintain focus at university.

I know in my personal life, I have really struggled to keep my motivation consistent. Frank Daley in his blog post explores three main types of procrastinators – delayers, perfectionists and distractors – and I identify with the third. I am always finding other tasks more enticing, and the hardest part is doing a task I’m not entirely invested in.

This topic is more important now than it has ever been, with new forms of distractions peering into the world at a rapid rate. Social media and access of a world of information through the nervous system of the internet can generate many hours of wasted moments and activities that are not as vital as the important tasks.

From speaking to many uni students, there are people who have dropped subjects, courses and even said the university system had made them feel unbearable stress. University of Wollongong’s slogan is “Find your why“, and their aim is to make the experience as motivating, rewarding and supportive as possible. How can they make sure students feel like they are working towards something?

University students suffer from having tasks to do such as study or assignments, however not having any motivation to do it. YouTuber and author Thomas Frank tries to explore this concept in his article here. The three solutions that he found were ‘adding rewards’ to doing tasks, ‘create new consequences’ to put the pressure on and ‘make it harder to access tempting distractions’, which are all great ideas in theory, but can they be implemented easily?

The constant looking-into-the-microscope of how motivation can be obtained has only shown that it is completely psychological, however can be altered. Some would say to be gentle and try different strategies, which Thomas Frank has many articles about productivity and how to slowly improve, or Jordan Peterson in his book ’12 Rules for Life’ states harshly to the readers, “Start to stop doing what you know to be wrong. Start stopping today. Don’t waste time questioning how you know what you’re doing is wrong, if you’re certain it is.”

University students know that motivation is lacking, and can ignore it, or “clean up their life” and push through. Is it this easy? If UOW tried to display this type of motivation, would it increase or decrease the level of motivation in students?

Adnan Tasgin and Göksel Coskun in their academic journal entry, ‘The Relationship between Academic Motivations and University Students’ Attitudes towards Learning’ identifies that “…learning paves the way for a community to move forward in the future” and that “motivation is an important variable that affects all phases of learning and practice”. It is an inner state of mind that “triggers learning… in achieving their desired goal”. Can this be influenced from the education system, or is it independent? There are many questions to be answered, which is why I will research this topic and update findings in future blog posts.

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