Lesson Four: Push Yourself

In college, you can do as much or as little as you want. Honestly, there’s a good chance that no one will even notice unless you start failing. This doesn’t mean you should slide by under the radar. In fact, it means almost the opposite. By pushing yourself rather than relying on others to tell you what to do, you’ll start developing one of the most attractive qualities in the work environment.


Self-motivation is one of the greatest skills you can posses. It’s what pushes successful individuals to go above and beyond the call of duty. It’s what attracts an employer and could set you apart from the crowd. This is a great skill to learn early on in the game. The sooner you become self-motivated, the more time you’ll have to separate yourself from the crowd. Don’t wait until your senior year to start getting involved and gain real-world experience. By that point, it’s almost too late.

Steps to Becoming Self-Motivated

For the majority of us, becoming a self-motivated individual doesn’t happen over night. Here are some easy steps you can take to increase your motivation and start pushing yourself to succeed.

  • Sit down and outline the kind of professional you’d like to be the day after you graduate college. Use this outline as a starting point to outlining your college-career goals.
  • At the beginning of each semester, outline a short set of goals you wish to accomplish based on your college-career goals. They could be anything from landing an internship to improving your GPA. Honestly, as long as they’re positive and have an academic of professional focus they’re fine.
  • After outlining your goals, take the first step. Find an organization, tutor or whatever tool(s) you need to reach your goals.
  • Keep a running list of all the steps you’ve taken throughout the semester so you can see how far you’ve come.
  • At the end of each semester, review your progress and evaluate if you met your goals. If you did, reward yourself. If not, move the goal over to the next semester and keep going till you’ve done it.

From the day you start your first semester of classes, you begin a four-year countdown till graduation. While it may seem like a long time, it flies by. Trust me. It’s unbelievably easy to get wrapped up in your social life, relationships or pretty much anything that doesn’t involve school. Take the time to evaluate your involvement and success both in and outside the classroom, especially during your first year. Don’t settle for the bare minimum. Expect more from yourself. Push yourself to be the best person you can be, no one else will.


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