A Motivational Quest

I stand there frozen in fear. The stairs in front of me seem incredibly daunting and I wonder how I will ever overcome them. Once again I ask myself why on earth I would want to do this. To answer that question I mentally run through the process that got me here. It all started last night when I read an article about how great running up and down stairs is for bodies. I then decided that a stair workout sounded like a great idea and figured I would try it out the next day. That decision led me to where I am now: standing petrified in front of a horrific looking flight of stairs. Doing this workout seemed like a great idea beforehand, but for some reason I can’t seem to find the motivation I need to actually follow through with it now that I am here.

Perhaps you have experienced a situation similar to the one I just described. Or maybe you can’t relate to that at all. As it turns out, you could be the type of person who really doesn’t like to work out and you never really care to find the motivation to do painful physical activities. In that case, you might better relate to an academic struggle for motivation. If so, just think back to a time when one of your professors assigned a paper for your class. You procrastinated for a little while, but eventually came to a point where you knew you had to write that paper. You sat down in front of your computer and prepared to write, but as you stared at the blank computer screen you just couldn’t seem to find the motivation to begin writing. The entire writing process felt painful and foreboding; how could you ever build up the courage to take on such a task?

Finding motivation can be a very difficult endeavor. Even those people who are balls of energy that never appear to need any extra motivation sometimes hit a slump. There have certainly been times when Arnold Schwarzenegger struggled and didn’t want to go work out. At some point in his life, there was a period when Beethoven had trouble getting started with a symphony. Yes, I tell you even Hitler had days when he couldn’t seem to work up the motivation to attempt to take over the world. It happens to the best (and the worst) of us. But this is no reason to fear! On the contrary, together we can work to overcome those dreary days when your enthusiasm has hit rock bottom. Today, I am here to give you six tips to gather the motivation you need to begin even the most formidable mission.

  1. Make your task incredibly easy to begin.

When you are beginning to embark on a fearsome venture, start with something really easy. Do not tell yourself that you begin writing when you are finally typing words; tell yourself that you have already begun once you turn on the computer. Do not start a work out by lifting weights; instead, start it by tying your tennis shoes. Do not say that you start getting out of bed when you leave your bed, say that getting out of bed begins when you turn your alarm off. This mindset makes it much easier to get over the hump of beginning a task. Instead of having difficulty beginning, you will find that the difficult part is actually continuing. However, by then you will have already begun your mission, which will greatly enhance your motivation.

 

  1. Focus on your goal.

If you have a goal or a reason for doing something then it will be much easier to make yourself do it. For example, if a man is attempting to do a workout, he can focus on how he wants to better his health. Instead of thinking about how much running stairs hurts, he can tune his mind to emphasize the benefit of running those stairs. Doing this allows him to remember why he wants to work out and then use that knowledge to fuel himself.

 

  1. Stay positive

The more negative you are, the harder it will be to get motivated. If you keep telling yourself that you hate writing and that your paper will probably turn out badly and that having to write a paper is just ruining your life, then you will probably never find motivation to write that paper. That is exactly why you have to change your outlook from one full of negativity to one full of positivity. Remind yourself how well you can write (even if you don’t think you are a great writer). Remember that writing a paper will only take up a few hours of your life, which really isn’t that bad. Stay positive, and it will be much easier to find the elusive motivation that you seek.

 

  1. Reward yourself.

What better way is there to get yourself to do something than to place a reward at the end of the road? When you set aside time for a project, allocate a little time for something you enjoy as well. That way you can treat yourself to a reward after you finish. Then, when you are trying to motivate yourself you can remind yourself that there is something to look forward to after you are done with your difficult task.

 

  1. Use peer pressure to your advantage.

When you are preparing to tackle an unsettling enterprise, enlist the help of your friends. Tell them all about what you are going to do or even post about it on social media. Ask them to hold you accountable so that you do not veer from your course of action.

 

  1. Watch the Shia Labeouf Just Do It video.

Seriously, just watch it. You think this is a joke, and on one hand it is, but it actually leads to a very helpful tip: get motivated by watching or reading something that you find inspiring. Although it may not be the Shia Labeouf video, you should still attempt to find something that appeals to you personally. This will help to inspire you and raise your motivation levels dramatically.

(Watch video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXsQAXx_ao0)

 

There you have it: the six things that I have found to be the most helpful when I am trying to find motivation for a task. Doing these things can be extremely beneficial in your quest for motivation. Just remember, even though it may seem impossible, you can do it. Just like the Little Engine that Could thought that he could, I know that you can.

 

Written by Nathan

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The Testing Dead

Did you know that DBU has its own version of the Walking Dead? This version comes about every so often whenever something negative happens, like Chick-Fil-A being closed, the internet being down, or finals week. While the two former problems are typically temporary and resolved after some patience, the latter is something that can bite us and infect our attitude. However, in order to be a real finals survival expert, you need to be prepared. Please allow me to be the Rick Grimes to your Carl Grimes.

First, you must know your enemy. The zombies that we fight come in the form of papers and Scantrons. There are different types, such as English, Math, or Psychology. Each one requires different types of preparation, but the method is the same. In order to fully know your enemies, you must study them. It is recommended to study a minimum of one hour for every class period. Keep in mind that studying is no substitute for being in class and getting experience. Both are equally important and one cannot be done without the other. Studying prepares you for facing the undead creatures that plague you during this week of supposed terror. It’s always good to be prepared for the zombie apocalypse before it happens, after all.

What are some methods for studying? I’m glad I asked! I bet you are too. You’re welcome. The classic method is reading and reviewing notes. Most assuredly, you have been taking notes in class, right? Right? Right. Along with rereading the chapters that the final will cover, reread your notes over those chapters. Make sure your notes contain things that the professor has mentioned are important. Things written on the board are typically important, so you should write them down, too. Another classic method is to use flash cards. (No, Mr. Zombie, flAsh cards. With an A.) Write some questions on one side and the answers on the other and quiz yourself. (This also applies to learning about zombies.)

Next, you must make sure your body is ready. During this apaperlypse (patent pending), you need to keep your body in good shape. The most important part of this is to make sure you get sleep. If you’re exhausted before you face the test, then you won’t be able to bring your a-game and then you get bitten by a zombie and then you start to turn and then someone has to shoot you and it gets messy. DBU doesn’t have a zombie disposal unit. Trust me, I’ve checked. Sleep allows your body to rest and recharge so you can take on the challenge of your final.

Now comes the most important thing that any good zombie killer/final taker must do. You must choose your weapons! Against the zombies, you can choose anything from guns to swords to crossbows. Guns alert zombies, though, so I’d recommend using them sparingly. Swords are nice because they do not need ammo and can typically be sharpened and used over and over again. Crossbows are also a good tool since they are long-range and can be reused so long as you retrieve the arrow. So, as a final taker, what weapon do you have? What is your trump card to vanquish your mighty foe?

pencil

The legendary No. 2 Pencil

Sorry, you’re kind of stuck on this one. Scantron Machines have this fascination with Number 2 Pencils. It’s like their favorite candy or something. You get one weapon and typically just one shot. Trust me, though, if you heed my simple advice, one shot is all you’ll need. Probably. Maybe get a good eraser, too.

Finals can be scary. They come across as undead creatures that were raised from the dead by some Necromancer masquerading as a professor. However, you shouldn’t fear these walking dead. When you shine the light on them by studying, they turn out to be pretty harmless. The important thing to remember is to keep a cool head. Fretting over finals will only put you in more danger of becoming like one of the undead. Remember my tips and you should be fine! Don’t remember them, and well… good luck out there.

cute zombie

Actual picture of a Psychology final

Written by Alfred

Words: Not to be Used Lightly

words1

Fluff.

Every student has done it. Every student has written it. More often than not, college papers are stuffed to the brim with the unnecessary. Some people add extra ideas at the last minute to reach that five-page requirement. Others repeat the same idea over and over in different words so the conclusion takes up half a page. With deadlines approaching, we haphazardly stuff words onto the page, hoping the professor will think our ideas are semi-passable.
Writing is hard. We know. Even for famous authors, putting ideas down on paper is still a challenge. Ernest Hemingway said that “there is nothing to writing. All you have to do is sit down at the typewriter and bleed.” Even waking up for an 8am class is easier than writing. With this mindset, however, students often forget the purpose for writing. Words get crammed into paragraphs that students don’t really care about, and papers full of neglected words get turned it at the start of class. And this is a tragedy.
Words are not to be used lightly.
Writing is a transformation. Words, when strung together correctly, can alter the average, spur on the weary, and inspire the great. Words express the ideas within us, the ideas that should be shared. When we fluff our papers, not only are we misusing our education, we are also misusing the single most powerful tool given to humanity. Words have the power2013_speech_4_3-4_3_r541_c540 to tear down kingdoms, to unite divided peoples, and to birth whole countries. Even God Himself began the creation of the universe with four spoken words.
As students, we are trying to communicate our ideas. See writing as an opportunity to express yourself. Be bold. Take pride in your thinking. Share those thoughts for all to see. Refuse to settle. Don’t see a paper as another useless assignment, but see it as the need to build on what others have done before you. Contribute.
Make every word count.

“Wise men speak because they have something to day; fools because they have to say something.”
–Plato

Written by Jenna

To write or not to write…

I intend to journal. I plan to blog. I mean to write down the thoughts that sift through my head, but unfortunately, good intentions only go so far.

Writing for school is simple; it’s due by a specific time, so I get it done. For myself, it is much more difficult. There are so many events, feelings, and blessings that I know would be beneficial to remember, but I can never seem to get them on paper.

So, to write or not to write, that is the question.

Do I just forget wanting to keep a documentation of life? I have so many other things to do; the list is endless. The thoughts I find worth going back over always seem to come when I’m right in the middle of something else, and byjournal-011 the time I’m finished, I’ve forgotten them. School papers, grocery shopping, and hanging out with friends are all more important and limited by time, whereas journaling or blogging is not. “I can do it tonight right before I go to bed,” I think. By that time, though, I’m so tired and already worrying about what else I have to do that I put it off again. As I reread school assignments or little excerpts I’d managed to write, I cringe at how awful they sound: would I even go back and read a journal? Such musing hinders me.
If I were able to make it a habit, though, if I were to write regularly, it would remind me what it feels like when my little brother gives me hugs for no reason. It would show life’s Journal 20 May 2010roller coaster in a way I could not see before. I could go back and remember how my pets followed me around the house, or how my father sacrificed time to be with us. A journal might allow me to revisit the feelings and perspective of another time, and perhaps help someone else going through the same thing. Personally, I tend to live in the present; I adapt to what is happening and how I feel now, and have trouble recalling different times. Writing down life’s occurrences as they come may even assist my memory and recollection abilities.

With this in mind, I choose to write, like I choose to pray, invest, and work out.

Does this sound familiar? Have you been struggling to write beyond the necessary?

Allow me to leave you with a word of encouragement:

“A failure is not always a mistake. It may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying.” B. F. Skinner

Written By Julia

Building an Army

armyI hate to admit this, but I failed the first college level paper I ever wrote.

I’m not much of a crier. When my boyfriend broke up with me, I didn’t shed a tear. When precious little Rue died in the arena of the Hunger Games, my eyes were dry. And do you think I cried when my professor returned that ill-fated paper?

You better believe I bawled my eyes out.

I was not upset that I had missed a simple typo in the last paragraph, or that a couple of my points could have been rephrased for clarity. I was not even upset that I had a failing grade.

Along with the unpleasant score came an unexpected note, which can appropriately be called a hate letter. Among other things, the letter falsely accused me of intentional manipulation and racism. My professor’s point was very clear; he did not fail me because my mechanics were inferior or because my paper lacked the right information. He failed me because my opinions—my personal convictions—did not match his own. This blindsided attack on my ideas is what left me in tears, an187548-army-helmetd I believe it is the horror of such a crushing possibility that kills the spirit of most writers, long before they even start.

Writing demands intimacy. No matter what we write, whether it be a research paper, a marketing proposal, or an Amazon review, when words flow from our heads to our hands, a part of our hearts go with it. With intimacy comes vulnerability. In the secret place of our minds, our thoughts are safe. Nobody can judge, criticize, or belittle our ideas as long as we keep them to ourselves. With vulnerably comes fear. Fear is the thing that keeps us from writing what we feel we ought to see. Fear convinces us that we should second-guess our judgments and leave writing to the “experts.”

For obvious reasons, I refuse to support the lie that writing your ideas will never result in rejection. People are going to give hurtful, negative feedback. That is an inevitable part of being human. The good news is, the voices of haters may be loud in decibel, but they are surprisingly few in number. No matter what kind of harsh criticism you’ve faced, you must refuse to let fear control your writing.

The best way to combat fear is with an army. For every person who attacks your ideas, dozens more are willing to defend your work and help you to better form your craft. One professor may have rejected what I had to say, but his or her voice is soldiersonly one of many. Soldiers who fight for my writing range from my mom to a multi-millionaire businessman whom I have yet to meet. These supporters are the voices I chose to listen to.

You, too, must have an army. If you are unsure where to find recruits, start with the University Writing Center. At the UWC, we aren’t paid to rip apart your ideas. No one is going to respond to your writing with a careless hate letter. A good army of advocates won’t tell you your writing is worthless, but they won’t say it’s perfect either. We will point out grammatical errors, ask you to clarify paragraphs, and change your paper to fit formatting standards, but we do this because your writing is worthy of reconstruction, not condemned to demolition. We value the quality of your writing, because whether you realize it or not, your writing reflects who you are. And you, my friend, are more valuable than you may ever know.

Written by Savanna

For more on writing, check out this website: http://www3.dbu.edu/uwc/

The UWC Golden Rule and Tough Tuesdays

out-of-orderWhen students walk into the Writing Center, I am one of the first things people see, and sometimes, I hate that.

Tuesdays are the worst for me. I have four classes, the first one beginning at eight o’clock that morning, and then I work my longest shift that afternoon and evening. For someone who requires at least seven hours of sleep to function above the level of “brain-dead zombie,” it can be ridiculously difficult to be the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed greeter for nervous students.

I’ve been scared of phones since toddlerhood. Asking strangers questions is one of my greatest fears. Why in the world am I a receptionist?

Because I can think of no other job that allows me to help and love on people quite so much.Golden-Rule-1

If I can assist a student in getting ready for his or her consultation and make him or her laugh in the process, I have accomplished something I feel is important. If the student is at ease, he or she thinks more clearly and is more willing to listen to what his or her consultant suggests. The consultant’s job is made easier, and the student’s paper is improved.

There’s a reason this works so well, one that guides me every day, even when I’m not at work. It can be phrased something like this: “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right” (James 2:8).

Pretty straightforward, no? Loving others is right. Note that James doesn’t really specify what “loving your neighbor” is 4.-Follow-the-Golden-Rulesupposed to look like. I take this to mean that we show different kinds of love in different situations. To love on students, I show them that I am their friend, that we do everything we can to help them. To love on consultants, I help keep their workspace clean and keep records organized.

Cheesy? Yes. Have you heard this before? Probably. But if this weren’t true, my job would be completely pointless.

Tough Tuesdays are a little easier when I get to pour love into others. It sounds like a paradox, and perhaps it is, but I personally wouldn’t have it any other way.

~ Catherine

Hope Restored

Hope Restored

Josh’s heart raced like that of a mouse scuttering from boulder to boulder, escaping the molting lava of Pompeii. Or, as a meerkat, fleeing the thudding hooves of a herd of Wildebeests. But Josh would have been content with either situation, for his predicament was far worse.

As a mere freshman, Josh faced a seemingly insurmountable obstacle: English 2301.

Testing out of freshman English, Josh entered college with chest held high. Destined to be the next Mark Twain, no English class could daunt him. So, he barged into his first class session of 2301. Bypassing the trembling students in the back, Josh strutted to the front row and stared the professor in the eye. Breaking a moment of awkward silence, the professor asked, “Can I help you?”

“No, but I can help you… teach this class!” Josh remarked, not releasing his glance.

But, when he saw the syllabus, everything changed.

“12 essays!” Josh exclaimed, “This is impossible!”

The professor chuckled and said, “Some professor you are, freshman.”


Josh sat on his couch agape. “What am I going to do?” He asked his roommate.

“You should visit the Writing Center. They’ll write your paper for you,” His roommate replied.

A sparkle graced Josh’s eye and his dreams shone anew. There was hope for his future. Navigated by destiny herself, no obstacle could impede him.

With the speed of Hermes, Josh rushed to the Writing Center.

“Here are my 12 essays. Write them for me.” Josh demanded as he flew through the Center’s door.

The receptionist calmly replied, “Sorry sir. We assist writers in developing their capabilities. We won’t write it for you, but we can certainly help you.”

Taken aback, Josh fell to his knees; once again, his dream slipped from his grasp.

“Do not be dismayed,” reassured the receptionist. Her hair burned golden in the light. Josh swore he saw an angel.

“Help is here.”

A hand grasped Josh’s. Leonard, a Writing Center consultant, pulled Josh up.

“Though times are rough,” Leonard stated, “You can’t give up!”

Leonard sat Josh down at the nearest table and said,

“If we work together, we can accomplish this task.”

“I now know that: though college is difficult, hard work pays off,” Josh responded, tears welling in his eyes.

Leonard grabbed an MLA instruction packet and sample essay. He and Josh discussed the rules for MLA, looked over the sample paper, and brainstormed some ideas for Josh’s first essay.

“See Josh,” Leonard explained, “the thesis is like a roadmap for an essay,” Josh nodded in agreement, “It is a brief, clear statement of the argument of your paper, helps you plan your paper, and helps your reader see how you divide your main ideas into subtopics.”

“Wow!” Josh exclaimed with fist held high. “Now I can write all my essays for English 2301 without having a panic attack.”

Restored, Josh galloped out of the Writing Center. As he skipped away, the sun set an orange aura on the horizon. Hope was alive, and so was Josh.

Co-Authored by John Brock and Ben Jones