Maintaining Momentum

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Pima_maintaining_momentumCan you stay focused on the big picture?

This quiz will help you determine if you know how to harness your personal power, reject self-sabotaging behaviors and keep yourself motivated toward graduation.


1. I’m going to college because:

I need a degree to get a good job.

I’ll have more freedom and pride in my career, financial and personal choices after I complete my education.

2. Your uncle can get you a job with a decent hourly wage and benefits. You should:

Take it. You’re tired of being a starving student, and eventually will return to your studies.

Stay in school. You made a commitment to graduate and you’re sticking to it.

3. Friends invite you to watch movies but you had plans to study for an exam. You decide to:

Stay in and study. Your graduation commitment is too important. You’ll make plans to do something special with your friends when your schedule allows for it.

Go for it! College is about good times. What’s one night off? You’ll get up early and hit the books.

4. You frequently find yourself depleted after meeting with your best friend who doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.  You decide to:

Maintain the friendship. You owe it to your long-time friend who has been there for you for years.

Curtail the friendship. It may be painful, but you need all the energy you can muster to keep your graduation goal on track.

Answer Key

Give yourself one point for each correct answer.

1-B A degree certainly can bring career opportunities, but to keep yourself doing the things you need to do to graduate, you must identify your personal emotional “whys.”

Motivational speaker and author Rene Godefroy says that external motivations, such as going to college to be with your friends or because your parents or spouse insist upon it, won’t keep you attending classes you may not like, enduring instructors you find boring and making other necessary sacrifices.

“Each person must take responsibility to find within themselves their emotional triggers, the ones that passionately drive them to persevere,” Godefroy says. Identifying these, writing them down and frequently referencing them will keep them alive, and help compel you to keep working toward graduation.

2-B The Public Agenda Report for The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations, With Their Whole Lives Ahead of Them, states that while 65 percent of students who drop out of college plan to return, only about 38 percent do so.

The reasons most students fail to complete their college credential is because they are overwhelmed, overextended, underfunded and under-prepared. Fifty-four percent say they left because they needed to work to support themselves or their families, and could not balance work and classes.

Godefroy says that recognizing financial, mental and emotional challenges in advance and putting plans in place to meet them – checking into securing financial aid or a loan, setting and adhering to proper sleep, work and study schedules, and determining the ways you and your family and friends will deal with the challenge of your college commitment – is the smart way to begin and stay in school.

3-A  Most of us have heard the aphorism “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Likewise, “The road to failure is paved with distractions.”

Jon Gordon, author of several books on leadership, says, “Distractions cause us to lose our focus. When we allow the trivial to get in the way of the meaningful, we miss out on achieving our truly satisfying goals.”

Certainly make time in your schedule for rest and relaxation, but don’t lose focus on your goal and the importance of taking each step toward it. When tempted to let your studies slide, remember how great you’ll feel from getting a good grade and how you can only get that feeling from hard work and sacrifice – and then get to work!

4-B  Gordon and Godefroy agree that the people we surround ourselves with are a big part of who we become. If you wish to be a motivated student, you must surround yourself with other motivated students who encourage you to work hard and study, and limit your time with those who lack direction.


4-3 points: You’re so motivated that your diploma is nearly in your hands.

2-1 points: You are on the right track, but a little more motivation could help.

0 points: If you want to stay in motion, you’ve got to begin moving. Now.

- Anita LeBlanc

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