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Motivation during times of change

Some changes in your life are chosen by you, other changes are outside of your control. Some changes are welcome, others are not. Either way, change involves a loss of something familiar and the development of something new.

Change can be unsettling as you readjust and learn to adapt yourself to the new situation. It can be stressful as sometimes things can be unpredictable. Because of this it is important to care for yourself, so that you can keep studying as well as you can. If the changes that have taken place feel overwhelming, talking to a counsellor can help you adjust to the change.

Your wellbeing can be seriously affected during times of change. It will be important during and after change that you attend to all the dimensions of yourself. We suggest you do the Wheel of Life exercise again to assess where your imbalance is and explore ways of finding more balance.

When someone you care about dies

Staying motivated to study when someone you care about dies is extremely difficult. If their death was unexpected you may feel shocked and confused for some time, this is normal. Your study may seem irrelevant compared to your need to grieve. You may find that immediately after the person has died that you are unable to study, work, or do other things that you would normally. This may last for a week or more.

Gradually as you learn to live without the other person in your world, you will be better able to focus on your studies.

What you can do to stay motivated

  • work out what are the really important tasks and focus on them
  • allow yourself to do less study than normal
  • ask a friend to take notes for you in class while you listen
  • be realistic about what you can accomplish at this time
  • praise yourself for your accomplishments, even the small ones.
  • contact your lecturer and discuss upcoming assessments, seek an extension if something is due soon
  • see a counsellor
  • study with a friend
Further Resources

When a relationship ends

It is hard not to take a relationship breakup personally. When a relationship ends, you can be filled with doubt about your own worth. Life can seem lonely without the other person around. You may find it hard to enjoy the things you used to enjoy together. The ending of a relationship can be a significant loss and you may need time and space to grieve this loss. It is important to stay connected to your other support people, and to slowly build up your social network if the other person was your main support person.

What you can do to stay motivated

  • allow some time to pass, to let go of the past relationship
  • be realistic about what you can achieve
  • reconnect with yourself by doing some enjoyable activities
  • focus on what you are gaining, this might be a valuable life lesson about yourself or others, it can even be the small stuff.
  • see a counsellor
  • study as much as you can, when you feel ok
Further Resources

Going to university

Going to a university for the first time will be a big change in what is expected of you as a learner. You need to be self motivated, responsible, and organised in your learning. The campus will be much larger than school, with many more people, and you need to make sense of it all. This change is difficult enough. Having to do this and move to a campus from somewhere in Australia or overseas at the same time can sometimes feel too hard. As you wonder whether you have made the right decision to go to university, think about this:

  • being unsure and confused for a while is quite normal
  • it may take you as much as three months to feel settled in your new town/country
  • the rewards will be worth the effort
  • there will be times when you feel sad and lonely as you miss your family and friends
  • you will adjust if you keep trying
Some things you can do to help you adjust are:
  • ask as many questions as you like to staff and students
  • ask a Student Counsellor what you can be doing to help you adjust
  • get involved in orientation activities
  • be patient, it will happen
  • go and meet the Deakin International staff and Student Support Workers
  • have a contact at home who you can call/email who will tell you honestly what is going on there
  • join a DUSA club
  • meet with other students from your country
  • the happier you are the better you study. As well as studying, do things that you enjoy, find a balance.
  • take time to think about what you need to feel comfortable at Deakin University
  • the sooner you take responsibility for yourself and your learning, the more confident you will be.

If after a month at Deakin University you are feeling confused, lonely, and not able to study well, we recommend you speak to one of the counsellors for some confidential advice. They can talk to you about how to manage better at Deakin, how to deal with your family at home, and tell you what other supports are available to you at Deakin.

Further resources

Leaving university

So you have your degree and now it's time to move on. You may have mixed feelings about leaving Deakin University, perhaps excitement and relief that it is over, maybe some sadness and regret that your time at Deakin has finished, or maybe you are worried about what happens next. Feeling many different things is normal. Finishing your time at uni is more difficult if you have to move to a new area or away from student residences. As you move on, keep in mind the following:

  • home may be very different, politically, socially, economically, and vocationally
  • it will take some time for you to get used to being at home again
  • people may expect you to be who you were then, not who you are now
  • you may miss the freedoms you had in Australia
  • you will have changed whilst at Deakin, home may not have changed
  • what was once familiar may feel strange
Some things that you can do when you leave Deakin University are:
  • celebrate your graduation
  • don't expect returning home to be as easy as just walking in the door
  • have a resume ready before you leave Deakin. The staff at Jobshop can help you with this
  • check out the internet for some online, local newspapers of your home town.
  • say goodbye and thank you to all those who helped and supported you at Deakin
  • say what you feel to your friends before your leave
  • take with you a list of friends email and phone numbers

Being an adult

As you mature you change; physically, mentally, emotionally, your interests and relationships. Moving away from adolescence in to adulthood requires giving up many of the securities and comforts you may have had as an adolescent; a room, meals cooked for you, regular advice, and rule setting.

It can be a little unsettling moving out of home, disagreeing with your parents, having to make your own money. So take it one step at a time, don't rush yourself, and look for opportunities to become more responsible in the world. The changes you go through are natural and normal, and necessary for you to become an adult and a professional.

What you can do to stay motivated

  • avoid making changes to your course during unsettled times without having discussed it with someone first
  • don't make a lot of big changes at once
  • go out and meet life, don't wait for it to come and get you
  • show initiative and take responsibility for your study
  • try and be consistent in how you treat others
  • try and be consistent in how you want others to treat you
  • be mindful of your educational and career aims and work towards them steadily.
  • see a counsellor if you struggling with the changes.
  • see a careers counsellor if you are not sure if you have chosen the right course for you.

Getting help

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