Staying motivated

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by usafa2022, Mar 6, 2016.

  1. usafa2022

    usafa2022 Member

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    As the school year drags on I'm finding less and less motivation to give my classes my best effort. I find most of my work dull and uninteresting, and I have trouble focusing on it, both in class and on homework. There's always that "Why am I even doing this?" question, and I just lose more interest every time I grind out another long evening working on some assignment. I feel sort of disengaged from a lot of it, like a perpetual state of "brain fog" if you know what I mean. My attention span is shorter and I feel my thoughts just don't move as quickly as they used to. Obviously I'm not the first to have this problem, and obviously I'm not going to any SAs with it, but in all honesty spending 75% of my waking hours on classes I don't really care about is getting old. Either I'm gonna have to figure this out or rethink whether or not I really want to go to USAFA, where I imagine it wouldn't be much different. Thoughts?
     
  2. Mom_CHgn

    Mom_CHgn Member

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    It's Senioritis...Everyone before and Everyone after you has had this feeling. You will have it until your final day and that last bell rings. Then you will graduate and life goes on... Welcome to being normal! OH and it will happen again, in about 4 years.
     
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  3. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    It's called senioritis. I would venture to say it's kicking in for most kids right now. It's hard, but stay focused. Work out, spend time with friends and family. Balance is key. Remember why you doing this... It's a step to the next phase of life.
     
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  4. goforspaatz

    goforspaatz USAFA c/o 2020

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    My opinion differs, because I'm assuming OP is NOT a senior (based on name)

    "According to WebMD, your condition is..." just kidding. Seriously, though, I completely understand. I felt that way through high school (still do sometimes) - why do I have work for 2 years to get into an SA, where it's another 4 years of work, so I can do more work? I find sometimes I need to blow off steam every so often. How you do that is your option - I suggest doing it responsibly - do something fun. Either way, keep your eye on the prize. My mom likes to say "work hard today so you can relax when you're my age".

    Also, I suggest you look up the "Vanderbilt Football Motivation: Houston" video. Few things have inspired me like that. Basically carried me through 10th grade.
     
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  5. usafa2022

    usafa2022 Member

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    Except I'm not a senior...I'm a sophomore, Lol!

    I do spend a fair bit of time running track, flying RC and full scale airplanes on weekends, etc. Still, school is nine hours a day (if you count homework), and all that other stuff is maybe a fifth of that on most days. My concern isn't limited just to motivation, though; the fact that I feel so out of it sometimes is worrying. It's like my brain is slowing down because it's always trying to keep up with all the stuff it has to do. The acuity I used to have just isn't there anymore, at least most of the time.
     
  6. Mom_CHgn

    Mom_CHgn Member

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    Lol....Well then! I guess what I would tell my Senior DD if she said this then or if my DS says this in the future, Suck it Up Butter Cup, you have a long way to go and you have just just started paying your dues.
     
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  7. usafa2022

    usafa2022 Member

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    Well, yeah, but still....sometimes it's better to find a route around the weather than to file an IFR flight plan directly through it and keep flying on instruments. In this case I'm trying to get through some heavy (brain) fog and I'm calling ATC (this forum) to ask if there are any VFR routes (advice) I could take.
     
  8. goforspaatz

    goforspaatz USAFA c/o 2020

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    Classical music while you study, watch sugar intake and cut it (if possible), less caffeine, more water, sudoku in the bathroom, read an Agatha Christie mystery book (it will blow your mind which will hopefully help you). Also, nothing beats good reads for kicking a slump. Who knows? Maybe you'll find what you're looking for. PM for suggestions.
     
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  9. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    It's called life. It happens. Happens to adults with jobs too. Just gotta find things that keep you interested and engaged. If USAFA is the goal, then keep reminders around. It's also the nearing the end of the school year. Push through and enjoy the summer break.
     
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  10. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    The work never ends and when you do a
    good job through particularly hard work, guess what? You get to do it again. Even after you retire your significant other will give you a never ending honey do list.
     
  11. usafa2022

    usafa2022 Member

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    I didn't do a very good job stating my point, sorry about that. It's not work I'm struggling with, it's focus. After spending so much time on stuff that I have trouble focusing on, my overall focus is declining. When I'm doing something not related to school at all, often my mind still starts to wander. It's almost constant "brain fog," and that's really what I'm worried about. I'd be fine with doing useless classwork all day if it wasn't leaving me feeling out of it all the time, but that's what is happening.
     
  12. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    The problem that most young people have; especially in high school; is that they don't have any true goals. Realize this...... if "Attending a military academy" is your "GOAL", then you are definitely off base and that's part of the problem. The academy should NOT be a goal. The academy is a MEANS, TOOL, STEPPING STONE, ETC. to reaching your goals. The academy is only 4 years long. You still have hopefully, on average, about another 70 or more years on this planet. Do not concentrate on the 2-3 years left in high school or the 4 years at an academy or college as your "Goal".

    Now some will argue and say that there's nothing wrong with having "Short Range Goals". That's true. No argument. Winning a state championship at sports; restoring an old car; writing a song or book, etc. There are plenty of short range goals. But EDUCATION is NOT A GOAL!!! Education is a TOOL to help you reach those goals. Contrary to what you think, education is a LIFE LONG EVENT. If you stop learning, you might as well stop existing. Just today, I was needing to replace the rear window wiper blade on my wife's SUV. I've worked on cars for about 40 years. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out how to take the old one off. (Without breaking the wiper assembly). Thank God (And Al Gore) for the internet. A 30 second youtube video and I had the wiper replaced in no time.

    The point is, do NOT consider education, even college or the academy as a goal. Figure out what you want to do with your life. Your passion. Your interests. Then recognize the steps you must take to get there. High school is pretty much one of the stepping stones to pretty much any goal in life. (Unless you truly want to work at the Mini-Mart or Burger King for the rest of your life). My goal involved traveling the world; living in many different countries; serving my country in the military; seeing and experiencing things most people only imagine when they watch "Nat Geo or the Travel Channel" on tv, I was able to do those things. My education provided the tools for me to achieve most of my goals. And everyday, I re-assess my goals. Determine if they are still attainable, or if my desires have changed. And in there, will be many short range goals. Do NOT look at graduating high school as a "GOAL". Do NOT look at going to college or attending a military academy as a "GOAL". Education isn't a goal; it's a tool and stepping stone to reach goals. Once you realize that, everything else will make sense.

    Don't believe me????? Check with any number of people who either didn't finish high school or finish/attend college immediately after graduating high school; BUT when back to school later. (Once they figured out what their goals were). You'll find plenty of C-B GPA (high school) students who in college were 3,9-4.0 GPA students. Why???? Because they finally realized that education is a TOOL!!! You can't fix a flat tire without a jack and wrench. You can't cook dinner without a pot or pan. You can't build a fence without a hammer or screwdriver........ BUT YOU CAN'T DO ANY OF THOSE THINGS, OR REACH ANY OF YOUR GOALS, WITHOUT EDUCATION!!! Once you realize the difference, you'll be fine. Unfortunately, most young people don't. Most see school, (High school and college), as a "GOAL" or worse yet, an "OBSTACLE", that they must overcome and conquer. With that attitude, you're simply wasting your time. Because it's the knowledge, skills, and experiences that you receive with that education that is going to help you achieve your goals. It's NOT the piece of paper. Can't tell you how many high school and college graduates I've seen working at pizza joints who THOUGHT by getting a college degree they were going to get everything in life they wanted. Education is a tool. Once you understand that, and USE THAT TOOL for what it was intended for, THEN you'll succeed.

    Best of luck to you.
     
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  13. nolifepilot

    nolifepilot USAFA Cadet

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    My current schedule:
    M-Days:
    0600 Wake up
    0645 Morning Formation
    0730 Class
    0830 Break
    0930 Class
    1030 Class
    1130 Catch the bus down to the airfield
    1830 Catch the bus back up to USAFA, and dinner
    1900 Hw until whenever I finish
    2200 Bed

    T-Days:
    0600 Wake up
    0645 Morning Formation
    0730 Class
    0830 Class
    0930 PE class
    1030 PE class
    1135 Lunch formation
    1200 Lunch
    1330 Class
    1430 CQ
    1530 CQ
    1645 Gym
    1800 Dinner
    1830 Hw until whenever I finish
    2200 Bed.

    This is to give you an idea of what typical day is like as a sophomore. Freshman year is tougher, because you have to deal with a lot of rules and you will have training sessions either M or T-Days, so that'll take a good chunk out of your day. If this seems daunting, or you feel like you would lose motivation, then think hard about attending an Academy. For every one spot, there are 9 people competing for it. So make sure you will stay here if you come here, otherwise you are knocking out 9 people who very well could have succeeded. Good luck.
     
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  14. wildblueyonder

    wildblueyonder USAFA '19

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    usafa2022, I completely understand what you are going through. It is sometimes hard to "power through" and continuously put forth your best effort, even when you are tired. I totally get it and have gone through it myself--many times.

    Having said that, I need to be honest with you--you will ultimately need to figure out how to solve this problem in your own mind. I can't tell you how many times I've dealt with the "brain fog" you've described since I arrived here. I'm sure I speak for the vast majority of my classmates, too. I probably experience it more often than not. It can be pretty tough to stay focused and motivated after 3-4 days in a row of <5-6 hours of sleep per night, when GR's (tests) are looming and training seems overwhelming. But we figure out how to adapt. At least, those of us who stay figure it out.

    If I were you, I would try to use this as an opportunity to practice and improve your own persistence and determination. Look inside yourself for the motivation needed to succeed. Find it and harness it to achieve great things. And if it's just not there and you absolutely can't generate it, it's better to find out now than once you get here. There will always be hundreds of other candidates who do have it and are willing to struggle, hour after hour, day after day, because they know the result will be worth it no matter how "motivated" they feel at the time. That is the mindset needed to make it through freshman year, and those highly motivated candidates will be your competition.

    Please, please don't think I'm belittling, scolding, or otherwise demeaning you. I'm not. I have experienced what you are going through, probably about the same age you are currently experiencing it. It's hard; it really is. It's quite possibly one of the hardest challenges you will face in high school--I know it was for me. But you have what it takes to succeed here, IF you are willing to work past your lack of motivation and "grind through" anyway. I think you could have a great future in store for you. What really matters, though, is what you are willing to invest in it. Good luck to you, and I wish you all the best. :thumb: PM me if you have questions.
     
  15. MABlue

    MABlue Member

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    If your motivation is really at a low point, just find one thing each day to enjoy, whether its one single class, a moment with friends, or a workout. I've experienced this time and time again, going to a NE boarding school where the student body is generally getting no more than 4-6 hours of sleep per night, even as freshman, due to a combination of rigorous academics, mandatory athletics, and community service/clubs. We also experience the same "dark ages" phase in the winter that many people at SA's experience(i.e. dark when we go to breakfast, dark when we head back to dorms, combined with too much HW/Commitments). I know that last winter I was feeling the exact same way OP is right now. You just need one thing every day to keep you motivated. For me, it was always a workout or community service project. Keep grinding! Time goes by fast...
     
  16. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Focus is just a part of work... i.e. getting the job done. If you think you can get work done without focus you are sadly mistaken. Try doing a task that DOES motivate you. I find if I complete a couple of those, it's easier to tackle the undesirable tasks. If you think your problem is truly an inability to focus, rather than attitude, perhaps you should see a doctor.
     
  17. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    OK, read ChristCorps' post, copy it out and hang it in front of your desk (or wherever you do your homework).

    I could give you my daily schedule but I hear high school students sometimes get depressed when they read about the lives of adults. :)

    "Mom, where is my underwear?" In your drawer
    "What's for dinner?" Whatever I make.

    or now that the kids are grown up:

    "Mom, why didn't you tell me it was going to be like this?" I did, you didn't listen
    "Mom! I am sick. What should I do?" Throw up in the bucket. Take two Tylenol.
    "Mom. I'm on another continent and homesick." I miss you too.
    "Mom! My wife is pregnant (again)!!!!!" I love you all and can't wait to see you again.

    Choose a goal... and live for it!

    And remember to call your mother. She loves you. Unconditionally.
     
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  18. jbusn

    jbusn Member

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    Go watch some F-22 videos and get back to work...
     
  19. Blueblood1

    Blueblood1 Member

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    Best advice I can give: Actually try to learn something in those classes! Boredom is something that you manufacture, it is not in the innate subject matter itself. You might even find that the subject matter is interesting if you dig in a little further.

    Second best advice I can give: Get used to it! You will find a great deal of mundane or what you believe to be (and often are) senseless activities, forms, requirements in the military. To some degree, you will find that in any job or at an school you decide to attend.

    There is some stuff that we just have to deal with, no matter what your rank/position, etc. Completing those tasks efficiently allows for more time to devote to more productive/enjoyable activities. There is generally a mundane or essential aspect to any larger task -- failure to complete the mundane component well could easily compromise the mission, task, job assignment, etc.

    Good luck.
     
  20. 6KDogwhistle

    6KDogwhistle Member

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    Here's a different approach. Look at the last VSP (voluntary separation) numbers. In layman's terms, the Air Force let many of their highly trained airmen separate early from active duty with incentive pay and waived any and all commitment(s). This was a very stupid idea and a huge mistake that we are now once gain paying for, but we don't have a shortage of dumba$$es who are running this country, do we?!?! I digress, once again. Anyways, don't quote me but the take rate from what I've heard was 80-90%! A good majority were heavy pilots (tanker/airlift). These are the same folks who jumped through countless hoops and the daily grind...you know, the ones who've made it to through the program and then some , whether they were academy, ROTC, or OTS grads. Obviously, things are not what they're cracked up to be. I hate to paint such a bleak picture but you'll see it for yourself, especially those of you who dream of sitting in a cockpit someday!
    I had a female jumpseater a few months back, who was a regional airline pilot (I'm an airline pilot). She told me a very interesting story. She graduated from the academy, went to AFIT and got a masters on the Air Force's dime, then attended pilot training and flew C-17s for 3 years. When the Air Force offered the VSP, she took it and separated from active duty with over $100k separation pay. On top of that, her remaining 7 years of commitment was waived. She was building time in the regional airline and flying in the ANG (national guard) in hopes of landing a job with the majors someday. According to her, more than 80% of the folks who were eligible for the VSP took it.
    So, let's think about this for a second. You have a number of highly motivated stellar individuals who clawed their way through the program to achieve their end goal and now, these same folks are clawing their way out of the active duty Air Force. How long do you think a unmotivated individual will last, given the same scenario? Just remember, the academy is the "ride" and your goal is the "destination". If you don't have a destination, then you will eventually run out of gas and abandon your ride, you dig?!?!
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
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