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This may seem like a silly thing to some of you, but there will be times when you get discouraged about your education. You know what I mean. You have been studying hard for several weeks, and you are just tired and feel like you cannot read another chapter or write another paper. You may be lacking motivation!

I get it. Believe me, I’ve been there. I have often felt like quitting. But I never did. When I felt like quitting, I would look up at my picture frame with a hand-drawn image of a diploma and think of how good it will feel to frame the actual thing. I would say, “Won’t that be a good thing.” That gave me the motivation to get back to work.

One of the things you can do to remain enthusiastic about your studies is to think of a reward that will motivate you to continue. What can you do to reward yourself for accomplishing your goal of graduating?  It does not have to be elaborate, just something you can look forward to and think about that will motivate you to press on.

I decided to reward myself upon graduation by making plans to attend the commencement ceremony in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This was very exciting for me for two reasons. The first reason is even though I graduated three other times (bachelor’s degree, graduate certificate, and master’s degree), I never took the opportunity to attend commencement. The second reason was

Jim's Graduation from Knox Seminary

Jim’s Graduation from Knox Seminary

it was in Florida! What isn’t cool about that?

Beth and I made a mini vacation out of it and stayed at a beautiful beach-side resort for four days. We walked the beaches and ate way too much good food. Oh yea, and I attended the commencement ceremony, too.

Commencement was great. I had the chance to meet my advisor, some of my professors, and a few other people that I had communicated with over email, but never met. I was very glad I made the decision to participate.

So, if you ever get a little discouraged, stop and think about what you will do when you are done with your degree. Think of something that will motivate you. Maybe your motivation is different than mine, but no matter what it is, think about it, write it out, picture it in your mind… and then get back to work!

You know, now that I have spent some time reminiscing about my trip to Florida, I think it is time to enroll in another degree program. I wonder what the University of Hawaii has to offer?