Student motivation, involvement dwindling

Dewey Cooper

Kevin Bazner, assistant director in student development and orientation, shows the Presidents of Greek Life the statistics of grade averages of students in different organizations, during the President Round Table meeting, Tuesday afternoon. They discussed different processes they can undergo to make academics more of a priority in the Greek life community. Photo by Rachel Johnson
Kevin Bazner, former assistant director in student development and orientation, shows the Presidents of Greek Life the statistics of grade averages of students in different organizations, during a President Round Table meeting.  2014 file photo by Rachel Johnson

Three weeks.

Only three weeks until the long anticipated semester break graces the presence of students. While many are jumping to complete the 16-week-long semester, others are lacking motivation to finish.

“I’m ready for it to be over,” Peyton Tally, nursing freshman, said.

Many students feel the same as Tally, and Dean of Students Matthew Park explains why.

“There is usually an excitement that accompanies the onset of a new academic year,” Park said. “And during that time the energy and enthusiasm [of students] can translate into new found involvement opportunities.”

Park credits this to the large amount of activities that takes place during the first half of a fall semester.

“As the semester progresses the drop off of motivation and involvement normally drops around mid-October,” Park said. “We see students get busier as time progresses and as that happens their availability decreases.”

Park contributes some of the increased stress and pressure to students trying to do more than they can handle, and also the lack of break in the fall semester.

“During the fall semester, because there is no form of mid-semester break, my observation is that stress and anxiety and the correlation in the decrease of involvement is more prevalent,” Park said.

Park even mentioned that students are dropping two weeks before finals due to the stress build up.

Other administrators see involvement fall towards the end of semesters as well.

“You see a lot more motivation towards the end of the semester to get grades together especially with people graduating either in December or May,” Shayla Owens, student government association president, said. “Motivation for academics is at an all time high when finals come around.”

Owens also mentioned that even though she thinks motivation is picking up, student involvement might not be.

“I really think you have to look at what it is that they’re involved in,” Owens said. “If you look at Greek life they’re getting more involved because they’re getting ready for elections, but then we have our regular organizations that start losing stamina because it’s more about grades.”

Owens also has a tip for student organizations.

“Don’t stop planning things towards the end of the semester. If you have all your events stopping in November then you’re doing yourself a disservice,” Owens said.

Matthew Chisholm, coordinator of student transition programs, agrees with Owens on student involvement.

Chisholm added, “We need more effective use of student leaders to draw in and retain other students.”

Students, however, have wide range of emotions now that the semester is drawing to a close.

“I enjoyed Thanksgiving break so much that it is really hard for me to get back into the groove,” Tally said. “My motivation is slacking. I hope that changes soon.”

Tally added that her semester hasn’t actually been too difficult.

Others feel opposite Tally.

I’m a bit sad that this semester is almost over. It has been, by far, the best semester I’ve had,” Yolanda Torres, humanities junior, said. “Something about the combination of the perfect classes and great friends really made this semester stand out compared to the others I’ve had. Finals are bittersweet this time around.”

Torres is also ready for the semester break.

“My niece and nephew are anxiously waiting for their ‘Aunt Jojo’ to come home,” Torres said. “We have lots of crafts planned and of course baking for Christmas. I’m excited to spend time with them because I don’t get to see them during the semester.”

Both Tally and Torres are already re-enrolled for the spring 2017 semester.

Torres added that she has “the perfect schedule for next semester.”

Some are in the middle.

“I feel stressed,” Tifani Ballard, nursing senior who is graduating in December, said. “I have a lot going on in these last few weeks, but overall, I feel relieved. Excited. Worried.”