This summer I am required to prepare for a graduate preliminary exam. My biggest problem is that I have a record of very poor self-motivation. I was intending to review all of Calculus last summer before I began graduate school. I succeeded in carting around my Calculus book and never opening it. The summer before that I attempted to review Number Theory and basic Calculus before heading back to school for a Post-Bacc in math (after quitting theater). I did actually open both books and spent maybe a day or two on each, but that was it. However, this summer must be different. This summer will be different because it is my first attempt at self-motivation after a year of graduate school.

I believe that elementary school teaches you the basics of communication you will need to learn things. Middle School is for learning how to learn despite “outside” challenges (like hormones!). Next, high school teaches you how to learn by explaining study skills. Then, undergraduate teaches you how to decide what you want to learn with guides to help you do so. Finally, graduate school teaches you how to learn completely unassisted.

If I am to succeed in graduate school, then I must learn to self-motivate and self learn. This morning I opened my books and I reviewed some Calculus as a warm-up (notice that I never actually reviewed Calc during any previous summer) and began the process of studying. No one held a gun to my head. No one yelled at me that I would fail if I didn’t. And so, with more confidence, I can more forward because getting the ball rolling is the hardest part.

## About Samantha from SocialMath

Applied Mathematician and writer of socialmathematics.net.

Nice article. Excellent view point. Nice flow of writing. Keep up the good work.

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