How do you motivate yourself for the aspects you are losing passion for?

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by modestmousktr, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. modestmousktr

    Jan 22, 2013
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    How are you managing stress, burnout, and/or time? I am funded entirely through TAships and have been since beginning my Ph.D. program two years ago. By the time I finish, I will likely have been an assistant running sections three times, an instructor/associate about 7-8 times, and I also adjunct on the side at SLACs and CCs during summer.

    Although I love the experience because I would like to go the CC/SLAC/teaching university route, I am teaching so much because I am solely funded through TAships and must teach every quarter (20 hours / week) to maintain a stipend and tuition remission. I am not burnt out on teaching at all, but, because this funds me and because I like it, I find myself investing most of my time and motivation here. I also am very passionate about my current clinical practicum site and am energized by that work as well.

    Research is not going great. I originally decided on a Ph.D. and not MSW because I thought I would really, really miss research, and now I have absolutely no passion for it. This is negatively influencing my productivity, as well as my advisor's perception of me, as I am not meeting expectations in terms of the student I used to be and in terms of our deadlines.

    Has anyone experienced this before? How do you redirect yourself, or devote energy to the things you are (A) no longer, or not passionate about, and (B) don't pay you. I can do teaching because I love it and it pays me... I can do clinical work because I love it... I am really struggling to find any energy to complete my research after this, although I know it is having a detrimental influence on my education and success.

    I'm also talking to my therapist about this and checking in with my psychiatrist about energy levels, but I wanted to hear if other grad students had experienced this, and how you have all coped.

    Thanks in advance! :)
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  3. autumn7

    Sep 15, 2011
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    I rally myself to get curious about the data, and to know/hope that the more 'tedious' steps are building an interesting picture for analysis. In other words, I have the 'end goal' in sight (ie: career aspirations, completing program requirements, satisfying intellectual curiosity, etc).

    When the interest in the data collection, etc, is losing all meaning, I encourage students to:

    1) re-orient towards the initial curiosity in the hypothesis (big picture)
    2) 'accept' the tedium, and develop a mantra about meeting a goal (ie: career goals, publication, etc)
    3) take some intentional days off (gasp), and make a plan for when you will re-engage
    4) if you are learning that you do not love every aspect of research, this is good learning
    5) the typical behavioral suggestions -- build in rewards for your efforts, and be specific, follow through
  4. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist

    Feb 15, 2009
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    As for the research, we all reach a wall at some point. Mine was when I had to write pages of code to get E-Prime to play nicely with our EEG software. Try to boil down tasks you need to complete into sections, and just hit each section one by one. It feels good to complete something, and checking off 10 completions instead of slogging through one huge checkmark can really make a difference and make you feel like you're making headway instead of spinning your wheels.

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