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A METUan’s Dedication

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Smiles on faces rarely do tell the story of a METUan's journey through METU but they are usually a sign that there is still a lot driving students forward to succeed and be happy.

As college students, we tend to experience anxiety and stress; thus, developing coping mechanisms when trying to excel. Is there a drive of sorts that is created for this? If so, then what is it that inspires us METUans to work hard? What could possibly be the driving factor that establishes the proper dedication for us to endure the sleepless nights? What is it that lets us dedicate ourselves to a certain schedule: sacrificing much of our leisure time?

Quick Breakdown of Motivation

Study partners helping each other.

First and foremost, we all know that sleepless nights, junk diets, constant exposure to screens, and caffeine addiction are quite the norm between college students. Even though we know that it is unhealthy, we choose to endure it. Why is that so? To answer that, we need to first break down how we create blueprints for our actions. I’ve simplified the components into two parts: intellect and desire.

Intellect

“He whose intellect overcomes his desire is higher than the angels; he whose desires overcomes his intellect is less than an animal.”

Rumi

Well, to put it simply, intellect is a reference to whatever knowledge we may have at the time being. Should we fail to familiarize ourselves with a given topic, we try to create resolve. Desire on the other hand is far more complex, as it is known to be very subjective. And, to pinpoint a single factor as the reason for the motivation of countless students, is utterly foolish.

Desire

Desire is a result of both our genetics and experiences. People are hardwired very differently; thus, making an endless array of possibilities. It isn’t that hard to notice that two siblings are quite often of very different capabilities. I guess that should prove as enough evidence for the previous statement.

And as for experiences, they are influenced by the reality shaped around us. This includes anything from a slight tug of the hand after birth up until the very breath you take right now. We can go on and on about what we perceive as reality and how it is formed. However, this is more of a psychological phenomenon than anything else. Perhaps this topic is too dense for this simple blog and is better asked elsewhere because it is a topic of great controversy.

Overlap

And of course, there is some overlap between the two variables. For example, a psychology student may have a passion for helping other people’s behavior. That psychology student has gained a strong desire: the desire to help others. Or perhaps it may be the pursuit of self-value. However, he/ she realizes that it requires a strong level of connection and understanding of both their ideologies and their biological state. This means that the student requires the intellect to properly analyze their patient.

Motivation vs. Dedication

In reality, we won’t always experience pleasure when trying to study. As a matter of fact, most of it may feel quite boring. Is this bad? Does this mean that this major was just not meant for you? Should you just grit your teeth and go on? Or should you try to make it fun? Is the dedication really worth it?

Discipline

The answer is obviously not so simple, as each and every single one of us behaves differently. But, what we can say for certain is that we will always need discipline. Let’s be honest, we aren’t always a hundred percent full of motivation. You don’t need to like your vegetables to eat them. You eat them so you can stay healthy and play football with your friends. It isn’t about motivation; it’s dedication.

The same analogy can be applied here. Your studies don’t necessarily have to be always fun. Instead, they should be seen as the stepping stone to reach the ideal dreams of grandeur: dreams in which we are working to better the economy with a big smile on our faces. That should always be in your head. Or as mentioned earlier, our desire to grow and become a better version of ourselves should be the main objective.

Thinking otherwise is not efficient and can be very dangerous. If one constantly chooses to believe that he/ she should have fun whilst studying their textbook, then they will most likely find themselves extremely disappointed. What you’ll end up with is either an absolutely miserable student or a student who gives up on their dream at too early a stage. In other words, a failure to create compromise will eventually lead to hopelessness; thus, failure in dedication.

Quick Tips for Motivation

As previously mentioned in the introduction, a lot of sacrifices are often required when placing education as your top priority. And sadly, many of us have felt the despair of helplessness throughout our time here. So what can we do in regards to these problems?

Let me summarize the problems associated with taking studies as a priori into two categories: efficiency and health. In terms of efficiency, you really just need to listen to your body and do whatever works best for you.

Efficiency

Dedication is seemingly impossible for me if I have too many distractions. That’s why I like turning off all devices connected to the internet and download all my content to avoid any and all distractions. I’ve also found that my focus is quite good; I can stay focused for anywhere between two to five hours at a time. Any less, and I just find myself wasting time. Any longer, and I’ll most likely end up with horrible migraines the following day. And in terms of training, many people find multitasking very inefficient. I, on the other hand, find it second nature to train while studying. Although I will admit that my focus is quite good, it shouldn’t be used as an example to look up to. I’ve only spoken about myself to elaborate upon the importance of journaling your best moments throughout the day for maximum efficacy.

Students studying at METU NCC’s library

Health

In terms of health, we can attribute most of our well-being to sleep, food, and social communication. Since the topic of sleep has already been covered earlier, perhaps all we need to cover is food and social communication. Luckily, I’ve already delved into this topic in this blog.

For me, I prefer to have a small- hour and a half- nap throughout the afternoon and sleep roughly two to five hours at night (depending on how much I have to study). In regards to sleep. My friend, Reem Al-Bikai, has written a blog in detail about this topic here.

Conclusion

The best way to wrap this up is to say that despite the common belief that many people have, motivation as we know of it isn’t always necessary. And although this may seem quite trivial for many, I’ve dedicated this blog for all the people who constantly struggle with anxiety due to uncertainty and a lack of motivation.

Anyone who has undergone constant pressure and stress at a very young age will see this as quite obvious. But not everyone has to go through those hardships. Besides, those same hardships tend to create less opportunities. So why is it that more and more students from relatively comfortable backgrounds are facing constant anxiety? I believe it is due to a misunderstanding of dedication.

This isn’t to say that motivation isn’t important. Rather this just means that people misuse this terminology quite often. What everyone needs- students and teachers alike- is dedication. No matter what abyss you may fall victim to, you must always fight. A particular sense of optimism is required to achieve this: one in which you believe that there is still hope.

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