I know how hard it can be to stay focused on your education. It’s tough. Yes, you’re so excited when your new books come in and you can’t wait to dive into it with all you have.
But wait, suddenly you’re through the first two quarters, and you find yourself getting further and further behind! Lessons are dragging on and chapters become lengthy. In return, that bright sunny day is staring at you from your window, the one last pin on Pinterest becomes tempting, and that last blog post is begging to be read.
Don’t be discouraged! You’re not the only one who has to pull your mind back to the open pages in front of you. But I’ve found out a few tips and tricks of the trade that help me through those dry moments where you just want to jump up from your desk and ride your bike up the road. Let’s get started.
1. Reward yourself.
I have found this to be the best motivator in the world. I’m not saying that a person should be rewarded in all things. As in everything, use moderation. But after completing an entire quarter in every subject, go out and buy that book you have wanted to read.
When you complete two quarters, go buy that new dress you want. When you finish the entire year, go buy those new shoes you’ve been waiting for – or that video game you love.
2. Give yourself a few breaks.
After you sit for hours and hours focusing on deep subjects, it’s easy for your mind to wander. And when that happens, we don’t absorb what we’re reading. Especially in the High School years, concentration is hard because of the intense subject matters. So, what is a person to do?
Take a small break. Set yourself some guidelines, though, so you’re not taking a break every few minutes. I tell myself, “When I read three chapters of History and answer the questions, do one chapter in Math, and finish the last questions on my Religion test, then I will take a small break.”
It helps to have 5-10 minutes away to collect your thoughts and become motivated again. Help Mom catch up on the dishes, walk up the drive and get the mail, or help your little sister with a problem.
It’s the simple break you need, but you can also be helping your family!
3. Make an outline.
I have always found outlines or lists to be extremely helpful. I’m a bit of a stickler on organization, so I love my condensed paper of what I need to finish or accomplish.
When I start school in the morning, I like to pull out my books, instructions, lesson plans, etc., and find out what needs to be done. Do you need to finish that last Religion test to complete the 2nd quarter in all subjects? Write it down. Do you need to catch up on Math by 3 lessons? Write that down, too.
It’s easier to stay focused when you can simply look at your list and know what needs to be done. If you don’t feel like doing that Religion test right away, that’s fine. Look down your list and see what appeals to you.
The main thing is that you get the tasks accomplished.
4. Stay off the computer – unless it’s solely for school.
This is pretty much of a no-brainer, right? Right! You start out by just checking emails. Next thing you know you’re listening to music, catching up on Facebook, and forgetting entirely about that History test.
It’s hard, I know. But just think of the outcome! Finish your school now and you’ll be able to catch up on Facebook later in the evening – guilt free! You can do it! (Oh, yeah, and the same goes for that Smart Phone sitting by you on the desk.)
5. And as with all things, pray.
Pray to your Patron Saint and the Blessed Virgin. Pray to the Holy Spirit to enlighten you and guide your mind; to absorb your lessons, and to do your best. Pray to St. Gemma Galgani who was a very conscientious student. She worked very diligently at her studies.
Or pray to St. Joseph of Cupertino – the Patron Saint of studying. You have a multitude of Saints and Angels at your fingertips! Don’t forget to ask for their intercession!
Don’t be discouraged! You will make it through this – and think of the satisfaction of knowing you finished High School!
I hope that a little inspiration from your fellow humble school-mate will help you be motivated to finish your (important) education!
God bless and keep you all!
Prayer Before Study:
Creator of all things, true source of light and wisdom, origin of all being, graciously let a ray of your light penetrate the darkness of my understanding. Take from me the double darkness in which I have been born, an obscurity of sin and ignorance. Give me a keen understanding, a retentive memory, and the ability to grasp things correctly and fundamentally. Grant me the talent of being exact in my explanations and the ability to express myself with thoroughness and charm. Point out the beginning, direct the progress, and help in the completion. I ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Saint Thomas Aquinas, OP (patron of scholars)