"Why am I in grad school!?"
If you have ever asked yourself that question, you are not alone. Dr. Jennifer LaGuardia from Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) has some helpful information about how we can find ways to "reboot our motivation" and optimize our well being.
Here are some things to consider
- What got you interested in graduate school? and What keeps you going? Reflecting on these questions will help you identify what is driving your motivation.
- According to Self-Determination Therapy (SDI), motivation is a psychological energy that is directed towards a goal. It is not the quantity, but the quality of motivation that is important because it influences persistance and well-being. Quality of motivation is determined by one's experience of autonomy, competence, and relatedness.
What can you do?
Begin by reflecting on the ways your own psychological needs are being met or not, make an action plan, and enlist social support. "CARES" Self-Assessment is one way of doing this:
- Competence: What are the areas you feel most confident about in your work?
- Autonomy: Are you able to pursue your interests and valued goals?
- Relatedness: How connected do you feel with others in your department?
- Extrinsic Compensation & Equity: Are you given enough resources and training to do your work? Are they enough to support your work?
- Structure: Are you given clear expectations and details about how to achieve your goals (graduate degree, research, etc.)?