Lack of Motivation: looking for advice

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by ModestPenguin, Jan 21, 2007.

  1. ModestPenguin macrumors 6502


    Mar 5, 2006
    Okay, here's the deal, prepare for a large and frustrated venting thread that is selfish, not directly related to any of you, and most likely long. Also, I personally will not find it any help at all if people start telling me how good I've got it and how I should get over it. I hear that far too much as is. Thank you.:)

    My name is Cameron and I have lost my motivation. I have it so ingrained in my head that I need a change that I cannot bring myself to continue the miserable experience that is my schooling. I go to a private school in Oklahoma City, OK (Casady School) and have attended it since 1st grade. It was a great experience up through 8th grade, however, starting highschool dawned a new day in the chapter of my life that is Casady. The lower and middle schools were staffed with some really great teachers who were knowledgeable, exciting, interesting, and most importantly, good at what they were supposed to do. However my experience in highschool has been the opposite. I am 17 year old junior and after 2 and a half years of this crap im fed up and have lost the will to continue. The teachers are jokes as of now. My english teacher has yet to hand back a single assignment that anyone in my class has turned in the entire school year. Not one.

    My sophomore year my english teacher was going through a rough time in his life as his wife had just left him and as such he was unable to be a successful teacher.

    My Freshman year my english teacher was a woman who has kept her teaching position only so that the school can keep her as a field hockey coach as we have won a significant amount of championships under her lead.

    Last year I was having issues with a science class and was convinced by the administration to drop out and be put in a lower level science, however after dropping the class they put me in to stage craft, historically known for being the biggest waste of time on campus. Therefore when the year came to a close I looked around for ways to gain a science credit and was informed that I could take classes at a local community college and receive credit.

    I took a 6 week course of Biology that was very comprehensive only to be informed by the same administer who suggested it that it would, in fact, not be able to be counted as a credit due to the fact that biology is a diploma requirement and therefore had to be taken on campus.

    Im sorry this is so far just background rambling. I will try to cut to the chase.

    This year I am taking 5 classes and working part time at a company called Express Sports. The classes are Biology, Genetics, PreCalc, AP US history, and English. My biology/genetics teacher is the same man and those classes are back to back every day. He is extremely sarcastic and condescending and refuses to attempt to actually teach concepts, and chooses rather to flood us with busy work that is vaguely related to the class.

    My english teacher is a joke, what with not grading things and the fact that he seems to think that the only reason a person can write a book or poem is because of their religion and current spiritual situation, therefore he negates all other possible explanations and ties everything back to the church.

    My history and math teachers are fine.

    Hears the deal...said that before but oh well.

    I am unable to do work anymore.

    I cannot bring myself to do it. I stare at huck finn but dont open it. I look at the genetics assignment but stuff it back in the backpack. I glance at math homework and put it aside. I leave my history book at school because If I were to do all of the other assignments that I have I could not feasibly have time to read it.

    My mother has a problem with money and it is that she has no idea about the value of a dollar and spends money on everything and anything. My father makes quite a bit of money but we have nothing really in the bank because we live month to month, constantly running credit cards to their max, randomly having weeks where dad asks me for some cash, or for me to try and help him stop mom from spending money without making her mad.

    This lead up to me bugging my dad about my college fund. I bugged him for about 2 weeks and finally he showed me the current info, I have 8K in there. Nothing at all really, considering the money my parents spend. They recently purchased a $10,000 60" plasma tv, which is beautiful, but unnecessary and expensive.

    I make excuses for my lack of motivation but really all there is to blame is me for not having the will power to buckle down.

    so what all of this boils down to is...what can I do to get myself motivated, involved, and focused. My grades are dropping and I hardly seem to give a S**t.

    I am the assistant editor of the school paper, highly involved in the environmental club, currently not actively competing in any sport, however I am managing the basketball team. I work anywhere from 7-25 hours a week and love my job.

    However I currently wake up every morning, dreading school, and I need to find a way to fix it.

    thank you for reading through this mass of letters. It means a lot that anyone was able to get through to the bottom of it.

    So if anyone has any suggestions, I would be glad to hear them

    Thank you so much

  2. furious macrumors 65816


    Aug 7, 2006
    Do you have a car?

    if so pack a weeks worth of clothes and food.

    Say goodbye to your parents, siblings and drive.

    Go someplace you liked to holiday as a child.

    Trust me this worked for me.

    It helped me realise that what was going on was such a small problem in the great scheme of my life. Friends, family are all so much more worth your time of day.
  3. NotFound macrumors 6502a


    Nov 30, 2006
    The only sensible advice I can give you is bite the bit and just ride it out to your best ability. It seems pretty straight forward and hackneyed to say but just getting through it and looking forward to your college career is what I would be doing. If you are focusing on what you think you need to be focusing on then everything else will fall into place.

    Good luck.
  4. swingerofbirch macrumors 68040

    Oct 24, 2003
    The Amalgamated States of Central North America
    This might seem overly simplistic, but I have been helped by realizing that other people don't have to be perfect. Like, when I get overwhelmed with people (or usually politicians) I feel are incompetent or inept, I just get to a point where I say, hey, this is the world, no one said it had to be perfect, my teacher doesn't have to be perfect. People will disappoint me. It's a crazy mixed up world, and things don't have to make sense or be great. Most families and schools are more like the Simpsons than like The OC.....just lower your expectations to the Simpsons level...

    Also you should check out the movie called Little Miss Sunshine!!!!! I promise you won't regret it.

    Have fun on your journey. Happiness is the vehicle not the destination (I know corny, but it's true).

    Oh, one more thing, since it is the MACrumors board, Steve Jobs' VERY COOL stanford commencement speech:
  5. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Do your parents have time to talk? I say sort them out first. Sort everything out. Maybe the reason you lack motivation to do your schoolwork is because you're thinking about all the idiots in your life, both at school and at home.

    Tell your parents that you think their spending habits are ridiculous. I would. Tell your mum to stop spending so much money on useless stuff while at least a small part of that money could help you be a bit more comfortable when you start attending uni (or "college"). Tell her she's being selfish if she's spending money like that without thinking about others.

    Tell your dad to grow a pair of balls and ORDER his wife to stop spending money as though it carried diseases and she has to get rid of it quickly. Does he make the money? If he can, then tell him to limit her spending. "Do it without hurting her feelings?!?!?!" Hey, you need to break some eggs to make an omelette. She's an egg.

    Suck it up and just do the useless work your bio teacher wants you to do, even if it seems useless and essentially based on your ability to memorize rather than learn or understand.

    Can't do much about your English teacher, either. Make new friends to talk to while in class. :p
  6. swingerofbirch macrumors 68040

    Oct 24, 2003
    The Amalgamated States of Central North America
    I am sure his parents will get him through college if he's at this private school. I would advise the OP to ignore the advice about a huge confrontation with your parents. Better to get out your anger here than cause more chaos at home. Your parents are imperfect. Your teachers are imperfect. Find the comedy in them and be happy.
  7. Counterfit macrumors G3


    Aug 20, 2003
    sitting on your shoulder
    I'm certainly not going to tell you how good you have it. I've been bugging my parents to let me build a home theater in the basement for a while now, but they're so damned fiscally responsible (okay, barring the room full of rubber stamps and other craft **** next to mine, but I think a good portion of that was free...) that they insist on paying for my college tuition. :rolleyes: (granted, my college costs less than my high school did...)

    I would suggest trying to float through the rest of this year and the next, just concentrating on the stuff you enjoy (paper, sports, work, whatever) and as soon as you graduate, start working full time at your job (if possible, you said you love it.). I really can't offer you any advice on college though, as far as paying for it yourself (only $8k saved by your parents? Helloooo Stafford loans) as I'm on my 3rd major and second school.
  8. MultiM macrumors 6502


    May 9, 2006
    TO. I've moved!
    I think you need someone in a responsible position to talk to. How about the vice principle or guidance counsellor at your school? Are they reliable? Is there a teacher that you DO respect and will listen to your concerns? You sound very bright and eager to learn. Perhaps this school isn't what you need to expand your horizons, so to speak.

    As for your parents, I have to agree with Abstract. Your Dad needs to grow a pair. Cancel her credit cards and then ask her why she has this need to spend so badly. What was (or is) missing in her life that she thinks buying everything in sight can fix things for her? She may have problems you know nothing about and require help you cannot give. You can support her when she needs it, though.
  9. Black&Tan macrumors 6502a


    Mar 4, 2004
    The only thing I can really suggest is set realistic goals for yourself. Make a checklist, if you will, of projects to be done daily/weekly. Start looking at colleges now, and choose one AWAY from home. It sounds like you're ready to spread your wings a bit, and get some real independence. Living at college would probably be your best bet. Focus on your goal, college & freedom, and realize that you have to endure all this crap to get there. Its almost like "paying your dues" in the business world.
  10. ToddW macrumors 6502a

    Feb 26, 2004
    here is thing. highschool sucks and shouldn't be the best years of your life anyway. just get through it get into college and continue with the rest of your life. just remember, this too shall pass.
  11. GnarleyMarley macrumors 6502a


    Apr 23, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    yup. high school is just a phase. it will be over soon...
  12. ModestPenguin thread starter macrumors 6502


    Mar 5, 2006
    thanks for all teh response guys. It means a lot. so, here goes some

    @ Abstract, I have wanted to confront my parents about their ridiculous relationship for quite some time and have almost gotten to that point once, however my parents have very delicate and fragile egos and therefore do not take lightly to such discussion. Mom takes all problems of anyone else and makes it into her problem, example: I called from school to say that I was having a ****** day a year or two ago, back when I was still of the belief that my parents were slightly sane, and and my mother answered and as I told her about my day she said things liker "Why are you doing this to me?" "What gives you the right to make me feel so bad?" Etc. Therefore I cannot actually talk to her about problems and if I try to I feel that I will not achieve results that are acceptable. Dad responded to my well contained concern about the amount in my college fund with "Cameron, you just don't get it, I make a lot of money, A lot of money, plenty of money, I just had a bad year this year." However it hasn't been just this past year we have had money issues, it is like a quarter-yearly experience. Thanks for the thoughts though, I would love a drop the gloves shout out with my parents, but maybe when its closer to a time at which I can move out.

    @ furious, Another suggestion that I would love to be able to use however, I am afraid that I cannot. I can't just up and leave school, work, and family, that is not something that would be good at resolving my problems. A week away would be glorious, yet I feel that if I were to do such, upon my return the fury of all the forces of hell would be shelled out upon me and my poor civic. That and I currently have $200 cash and couldn't go very far, which is important and getting up and going because there's not many places in OK to go.

    @ andrewxps, I am having problems focusing on a goal that is still quite a distance away, however important and great a goal it may be. I have it etched in my brain that I will get into college, and I dont have issues going to a school that isn't known for much, or going to a school that isnt considered great. I think that this may be a root of my problem, as I have convinced myself that my High School GPA is decent enough to not prevent me from finding a school that I can love. That is the issue.

    @ swingerofbirch, Little Miss Sunshine is an awesome movie that scared me in the amounts to which I could relate to it. At the beginning at least. My father is ridiculously optimistic and gets angry at realism, and my mother is as frantic as the mother in the movie and has the same issues with over-reacting. The opening dinner scene was scary almost for me. IT was like an out of body experience for me. Also, if I hadn't had such great teachers, I doubt I'd have such great expectations, however the school used to be great, and as I hold it to the same standards it used to hold itself, it is way below the mark. I agree that I cannot hold everyone to a ridiculous standard of perfection, but for $16,000 a year to go that hellhole, I do expect a great education.

    @ MultiM, My advisor is my current, worthless, english teacher, my sophomore year advisor has moved to NY, and my freshman year advisor was fired for having a relationship with a 16 year old student. So xnay on the guidance counselor. Last year we had a drop in high school faculty, resulting in 15 members of the faculty, most of them the good ones, retiring, leaving, moving on, etc. Something at the school must have changed behind closed doors to cause this but no one is talking. I will try talking to the people I feel I can talk to, my math teacher is a great person and I can only hope she has some advise, however I do not have much of a relationship with her and am not sure I feel that comfortable around her as of yet. Also my college counselor is great, however she is so busy with seniors and apps that I haven't seen her for a month or two. ahhhh. Thanks.

    @ Counterfit, thanks for sympathizing, and while I do love my job, it is a office bitch*cough*intern job for a local minor league hockey team, and I doubt they would keep me on without me going to college at the same time as they are only hiring a few interns, and only those attending college. I think floating through the year could very well be in my future, but I'm not sure if I can manage that what with the workload that I am supposed to deal with.

    @ Black&Tan, I do agree that a college away from home is in my best interests and as of reading your post I have made a todo list that is very very long. However hopefully it will motivate me to work a bit at least.

    Thanks to all of you for responses, It is nice to know that people are agreeing with me about teh frustration of my situation as opposed to telling me to get over it.

    Please continue to offer Ideas if you posses them, still looking for some stratergy for self motivation.:)

    Thanks again,

  13. holamiamigos macrumors 6502a

    Aug 10, 2006
    i say just ride it out now, then look in to colleges across the country so you can have a fresh start in a new state and make new friends and all that good stuff...
  14. twoodcc macrumors P6


    Feb 3, 2005
    Right side of wrong
    i agree here. it seems like good advice to me.

    do you have a girlfriend? (sorry if i missed it earlier) if not, maybe keep your eye open?

    i say try to focus on things that make you happy (sports, computers, video games, etc) and have fun with that in your free time.

    just try to think in your head ......i've got to just get through high school and into college.....that should be your goal for now....
  15. ErikCLDR macrumors 68000

    Jan 14, 2007
    I know exactly what you mean.

    In middle school life as perfect. My lowest grade in all three years was one A-.

    Now in highschool I hate it. I dread going there. I dread my classes. I dread the negative environment created by the "administration". I dread the homework. I am currently dreading the exams I am taking tomorrow.

    My biggest gripe is World Civ. (history). I hate how you learn the material, and then are quizzed and tested on it, but really, why is it important to know dates and times and names by heart. Furthermore, it annoys the S*** out of me that you read the book at home, and then you come into school and do silly little time wasting activities to reinforce it. So basically it is a self-taught class 100%.

    I hate my math teacher. She made up an exam review packet. We corrected them today in class. I would say about 1/2 the answers she came up with were wrong. And this is supposed to be a "Connecticut Vanguard School" meaning BS.

    My english teacher is fine. She's about as old as the earth. The curriculum is less than boring and the books we read are just so dull and not intriging.

    Additionally, I take all honors classes + AP bio. Many of my friends aren't in any of my classes which makes me have to work harder to keep up friendships.

    My spansih teacher- thank god she is retiring 1/2 way through the year. She is rude, obese, and just has this vial attitude. No one, NO ONE, likes her. She doesn't teach the material and then expects us to know it. We literally have a quiz 3 days a week. We never get papers back either.

    Teachers have become incredibly lazy. They make us teach ourselves, who knows if they even know the material, they never correct papers, they never turn back papers, they get 15 sick days a year out of 180 days and their sick days accumulate if unused. Additionally, if they retire with extra sick days, they get paid. Their salaries top out at $80,000 in my town and believe me many of the teachers don't deserve it. They also get the entire summer off.
  16. furious macrumors 65816


    Aug 7, 2006
    Teaching is the hardest profession on earth. Getting people motivated to learn is impossible.


    There you go a goal to work to. Start saving for a holiday. Get some of your friends involved if you like. You could drive cross country with 2 other good mates. Camp, fish, fend for yourself in this wild land.
  17. emmawu macrumors 6502

    Jan 19, 2005
    Wauwatosa, WI
    A good friend of mine started to tank going to a private high school and he bugged his parents to go to a good "target" public high school where he found out he excelled in art.

    He graduated with a really high grade point average, made lifelong friends and got into a really good art school. Got an MFA and is now working as an artist about 1,000 miles away from his parents. Sometimes being in the same place all the time just puts you in a rut.

    Being affluent is sometimes as much of a drag as being middle class. Think about your options. This is YOUR life. And remember when you go to college, no one will care at all about high school. :)

    All, the best to you Cameron.
  18. UserofMacOSX macrumors member


    Jan 12, 2007
    Luray, VA
    I feel the same way about my school work. I can't say I have a problem with my teachers, but I literally DREAD getting up in the morning. From 8 AM to 3:10 PM, I feel like I'm in hell. I can't push myself to make anything of the work I do. I feel like it's all pointless. I do it, but I HATE doing it. I am seriously considering not even going to college because I just hate school that much. I don't know if I can take any more years of this BS, I am a junior too, and I am looking foward to my senior year because I know it will be my last, but I have heard that there is enough work in that year to make up for ANY free time you may have had from K-11. I really don't know what to tell you since I don't know what to do myself.:confused:
  19. MultiM macrumors 6502


    May 9, 2006
    TO. I've moved!
    Sorry you have no one to talk to, Cameron. That can make it really hard. What about emmawu's suggestion of a different school? It sounds like yours is all wrapped up in internal politics and that never benefits the student. 16 grand can go a long way in providing for a better education than what you seem to be getting now.
  20. SMM macrumors 65816


    Sep 22, 2006
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
    I sounds like you have a good noodle. Your post was thoughtful and showed very good insight for someone your age. I agree with the other posters, change schools and take charge of your life. That should be motivation enough. You are building the foundation of YOUR future, not your parent's.
  21. YS2003 macrumors 68020


    Dec 24, 2004
    Finally I have arrived.....
    Good god, I am glad I was not in your shoes. If so, I would've been to a coo coo's nest..... Unless you are a almighty dictator, you cannot control almost all of the things you have to deal with daily. Even if you were a dictator, you could end up with problems beyond your control (Even a dictator in Iraq was overthrown by an idiot of another country. So, nothing is fool proof.)

    My practical advise is just to bite the bullet and ride it out till you are done with education (hopeful with a BA or BS degree at least). There is no point alienating your money source at your age. Better to suck it up before you can be financially independent from parents. If you want to study things you are interested in, you would need to initiate that yourself outside the formal education. Usually, formal education is set for the lowest common denominator in mind. At least, that was my experience when I was in school.
  22. zflauaus macrumors 65816

    Nov 19, 2004
    I'm with you too. The administration was absolutely wonderful in middle school. Most of my teachers actually made you want to learn on your own. They were fun. They talked to us and took us up one by one. They listened to you.

    I know high school is supposed to get you ready for the real world, but as a freshmen, the adjustment is just way too steep. I'll give a description of each teacher I have and give a grade rating to each one since it's only appropriate.

    My first hour is Geometry. My teacher is an absolute idiot. He likes to talk in a monotone, does not explain things very well, but he talks to us occasionally and is pretty free spirited in that we can pretty much do whatever we want. Grade: B-.

    Second hour, biology. She was one of my worst teachers, now she's gotten better. She talks all over the scale, she does activities, labs, PowerPoint (which gets interesting), and she relates it to experiences. Sometimes it's a little boring and hard, but overall, it gets an A-.

    Third hour, Drivers ED. Dear god, by the end of that class, I want to put a bullet in my head. It is that excruciatingly boring. He talks in a low, deep voice sometimes so you can't hear him. All we do is read from the book and watch videos. I know that's the general concept of Driver's ED, but at least make it semi fun. Grade: D

    Fourth, computer concepts. The teacher is alright, but he has some of the material wrong that I know for a fact. Sometimes I just sit there bored thinking, "Come on, just let us go." We are going most of the features of Microsoft Word 2002, then Excel, then PowerPoint, then Access, QBasic :)rolleyes:), and then HTML, most likely with FrontPage. Front-frickin-Page. I hope he gets some basic coding tutorials on or else, ugh... But at the end of the class, whatever time we have left, he lets us get on the internet and I usually end up here. :D
    Grade: B+

    Fifth, band. This is probably the best class of the day. The director is a lot of fun to work with, unlike middle school where he was a major a--hole. There was no other way to describe it. He likes to talk with the students and talk about when he was in the Air Force Band and in the high school band. It's sad that he is retiring this year, but I am glad I got to be a part of his band and I know why people stick with band. I can only hope the new instructor will be as good.
    Grade: A

    Sixth, English. I am absolutely horrible at English, in that I have a very short attention span for it. So boring, the teacher is interesting, but you just can't make English fun or make you willing to learn.
    Grade (Class): D-
    Teacher: A

    Seventh, and final, Intro to Social Science. The teacher is great. She relates stuff to real life, she isn't as nit-picky, and she makes it fun. The class topic is also interesting to me, so I will probably continue to take her classes.
    Grade: A

    Administration: F-------------------
    They are not approachable, they are not friendly, and they don't even say hello to you when you pass them in the hall. The principal makes you think that if he had a gun, he would kill you if you made the wrong decision. The superintendent isn't any better. She looks like a horrible witch and is always looking to make a move for good PR. The only administration I like is the office worker. That is one thing that has stayed the same. I loved all the secretaries/office workers. They were always nice to me and approachable.

    I know we are all supposed to move on in life, but high school was too far a drop of the edge. What looked like a 3 foot jump turned out to be 13.
  23. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a


    Sep 18, 2006
    See the school counselor and relate what you did in this thread. You need to break down your problems into smaller, solvable chunks. It helps to have someone - and third party - help you work through and prioritize them if not counsel your parents in the process.

    On a good note, I know that time probably seems like it's dragging like frozen molasses, but in a couple years the time will fly by and this will all seem a distant memory.
  24. Stridder44 macrumors 68040


    Mar 24, 2003
    Where do we find the motivation to move on and continue doing things when times seem bleak?

    For John, help came from his faith, but it also came from a squirrel. Shortly after his divorce, John lost his father. Then he lost his job, he had large money problems. But John not only survived, he worked his way out of despondency and now he says life is good again.

    How could this happen?

    He told me that late one monday when he was at his lowest, he watched a squirrel storing up acorns for the winter. One at a time he would take them to the nest. And then he thought, 'if that squirrel can take care of itself with a harsh winter coming on, then so can I'. Once he broke his problems into small pieces he was able to carry them, just like those acorns, one at a time.
  25. ErikCLDR macrumors 68000

    Jan 14, 2007
    Yea, my schools admins just give off the most negative vibes everr. Our new assistant VP used to be nice but now, like the others, she automatically assumes you are doing something bad.

    They call the more 'popular' people down to the office such as me and my friends and want to know if there are any rumors going around the school.

    When they do find out about something, they do everything they can. This kids jokingly said to his friend "I'm gonna kill you". So the kid gets expelled, the mom gets called and apparently the convo was recorded because the mom was at work and the VP said "why don't you come down to school and sign the papers so your son can drop out of school". They also involved the police because it was "disturbing the peace" and "bullying".

    The way I see it, the principal makes all the financial decisions and big decisions. The Vice Principals are there primarily to punish kids.

    Another thing- I am the sophmore class president. One day they called all of the class officers (presidents, VP's, treasurers, and secretaries) down to the office. Someone had somehow broken a fire door in the building after school and they wanted each of the grades to donate at least $150 to defray the cost of the $2600 door. We were also lectured on how doors to the main gym have been being vandalized for years and that they cost $8000 to replace (keep in mind this specific set is original to the original gym which was made in the 70's. Then in the new gym the doors to a closet are broken- which seriously is not our fault because the only people that go in there are the cheerleaders and the wrestling team. They don't use it for basketball because they didn't realize that having full floor to cieling HUGE glass windows in a gym isn't a good idea.

    Luckly they like me though, so usually they don't ever yell at me.

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