A Reflection on Motivation with the ARCs

As we’re approaching the end of the semester, you may be experiencing shifts in your motivation towards your academic work. These shifts may affect how you view your academic, social, or personal lives. During the lead up to finals season, we the ARCS (the Academic Resource Co-creators) want to encourage you to take some time to reflect on different sources of motivation, how these sources may present themselves, and how they affect your classwork and teaming. Motivation can come from many sources–intrinsic, extrinsic, or anywhere in-between. You could be motivated to do something because it’s interesting, or you could be motivated because it brings you joy, you may feel like you are expected to, you think it’ll be helpful for the future, you want good grades, it makes you feel good or healthy, you want to learn something, and so on. We want to highlight that there are no right or wrong motivations, but it can be helpful to reflect honestly on what they are or aren’t in different areas of your life. It can guide your actions and approaches, and if you find you don’t like your current motivations, you can identify and try to shift them. It’s also important to remember, especially when working with others, that different people have different motivations at different levels surrounding different things, and they are all equally valid and fluid. Sometimes, differences in people’s motivations can affect teaming situations at Olin, and awareness of one’s internal drivers can be helpful to resolving those conflicts.

We’ve included some reflection questions, and we invite you to ponder and/or discuss those which feel meaningful to you:

What motivates you to achieve your goals? What do you want to achieve?

How are you best motivated? What do you want to be motivated by?

How do your motivations vary in different parts of your life (e.g. academic things, but also taking care of your mental and physical health, getting out of bed in the mornings, doing social things)? What are you most/least motivated to do? 

Do your actions reflect your motivations in various parts of your life? Why or why not?

Do you have to be motivated? Or does it just make it easier if you are?

How do external factors (that you might not have control over, e.g. weather, people around you, etc) affect your motivation?

What do you do when faced with big challenges?

What situations may cause you to lose motivation?

Do you ever feel like you have no motivation? When? What causes that?

How do you recognize teaming conflicts that stem from differences in motivation, and how do you address them?

Can you think of someone that you consider to be highly motivated? What defines that? What do they do? What are their values?