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Instagram Influencer Justin Stewart on What Motivates Him?

Justin Stewart standing in black shirt and pants in front of University of Michigan Our new podcast series, Student Influencers, aims to inspire you, whether you are a current student or not, to work toward your goals. We talk to college students who are movers and shakers on campus and elsewhere in their lives as they navigate the challenges of undergraduate life. The students we interview have no shortage of wisdom, and we look forward to sharing this knowledge with you. Have you studied at a university with a large sport following? Want to know more about intrinsic motivation?

Influencer Justin Stewart: What Motivates Him?

On Episode 4 of the Student Influencers podcast, we spoke with Justin Stewart, a hardworking, intrinsically motivated college senior who uses his vision for the long term to inspire him.

Intrinsic Motivation

As soon as we started talking to Justin, it was clear that Justin is a driven young man. His tone of voice was direct and to the point, two critical skills in becoming a competent business person. And that’s fortunate because Justin is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration at the Ross School of Business at University of Michigan. Justin is already manifesting his dream to become a managing partner in a large consulting firm by taking the necessary educational steps to get there.

Justin grew up in Michigan, and he currently lives in Ann Arbor Michigan where he attends university. Justin loves Michigan because his family lives there but outside of that he is looking forward to the travel that will come with being a business consultant. Justin questions his parents’ decision to choose Michigan as a home base, but he recognizes that his future career in the business field will allow him to travel outside the cold climate of Michigan.

“I kind of question why my parents chose Michigan to set up shop because everywhere else seems so much better with the weather because right now we’re in the middle of winter and it’s extremely cold.”

After commiserating about the cold weather, Justin and I moved on to discuss what motivates him to get up and moving every morning. Justin explained that his goals motivate him to go to class. He referred his foresight for the future ‘intrinsic motivation’. Justin told me that he uses his long-term goals to inspire him to do the hard work in the present moment. When I asked Justin to elaborate on his beliefs around intrinsic motivation here’s what he shared:

“You have to base your experience in college or university more off of intrinsic motivation because you have to be motivated yourself and want to get up and go to class and you have to force yourself to do your homework. It’s really all about you because Mom and Dad aren’t there to say you have to go to school and that it isn’t something that you are necessarily required to do. It’s something that you have to want to do yourself.”

Work Hard, Play Hard

What can get 60,000 undergraduate students to wake up at 7 am on a Saturday? How about some rousing school spirit? The University of Michigan has an excellent football team and the 3rd largest football stadium in the world. The Wolverine team spirit sets the tone for all students on and off campus.

“We have a mindset at my school that you work hard, and you play hard,” Justin told us.

When I asked him to elaborate, Justin described what sounded like a scene out of Remember the Titans.

“Everyone Monday through Friday – we’re in the library studying, getting stuff done and everyone’s grinding. And then on Saturday morning or Saturday afternoon, it’s game day. Everyone’s ready to have fun and root on our school…Everyone wakes up at about 7:00 on game day. On class days no one wakes up that early, but it is always an early morning on game day! Then around like 11:30 everyone heads to the big house which is our football stadium. Then you stay at the game for the first two quarters at least. It’s just a blast.”

Big football game at University of Michigan

Justin went on to describe tailgate parties in the parking lots, big hats, school colors, and all day spent in the field with thousands of classmates, faculty, and local fans in a sea of maize and blue, the school colors.

Never Give Up

Competition is a theme which continued to arise throughout our conversation with Justin. Whether it was football or admissions to B college, Justin was aware that competition is a reality on campus and in the real world.

One of his biggest challenges to date was a Calculus class which determined his admission to business school. Although he was a proficient math student in high school, Justin told us that this college course put him to the test. Even though the course tested his knowledge, Justin persevered and passed the course and its required exam. He recommends the same attitude for other university students who are struggling with challenging courses.

“One thing I would recommend for students who haven’t yet attended university is to never give up and try extremely hard. Stay focused and try to manage your time the best you can.”

Like other students, we have interviewed, Justin endorses scheduling time using Google Calendar. Justin described his strategy of setting reminders for himself to schedule time to study for midterms to avoid doing work at the last minute. He said that when he has everything scheduled and blocked out, he can live by his calendar. He even goes as far as to record time in to watch a television show.

The Benefits of Group Work

Justin may be a student anomaly when it comes to enjoying group work. What tends to be a challenging aspect of an undergraduate degree for most students is something Justin enjoys.
“I think group work is far more effective than if I was to work individually.” Reframing group work is an idea we can get behind.

Although he explains that there are challenges within a group setting there are always ways to make personality differences work. He feels that working within a group is an excellent opportunity to learn communication and collaborative skills for the working world, particularly in the realm of business.

Meeting new friends on campus

Justin also advocates being open-minded to new experiences and meeting new people. He explains that there are many different people in university, and if you stick to the types of people you are familiar with you may miss out on opportunities to connect with new kinds of people.

“Never Let the Fear of Striking out Stop you From Playing the Game”

Justin ended our conversation by sharing a quote that is strikingly on theme:

“Never let the fear of striking out stop you from playing the game.”

Considering his love of football, passion for competition, and the ability to be a strong leader while working collaboratively within a group setting, it is no wonder this quote resonates with Justin.

After speaking with Justin, we were left feeling motivated. Justin is the type of guy who puts his all into his career and whatever passion strikes him at the moment. Whether he knew it or not, Justin provided some amazing insight for other students and left us with a few takeaways:

● Work hard AND make time for fun.

● Do not let fear hold you back – if you have a dream, go for it.

● Find ways to motivate yourself. Try not to rely on outside motivating factors – you have what it takes to propel yourself toward success.

● Stay focussed and make use of organizational tools like Google Calendar.

● Be open to connecting with different people!

Friends at University of Michigan eating lunch together

We’ve developed this Student Influencers podcast to share stories like Justin’s so that everyone, students and non-students can listen to their motivating words. Justin is a self-motivated, competitive young man who is motivated to make a difference in the world by collaborating with others. We hope you continue to join us on this journey of talking to successful student influencers who tell their stories of struggle and triumph and then share these insights with you! To follow along, please visit our Anchor site and stay tuned for future episodes.

Read the full Transcript here:

Cath Anne: [00:00:00] Hi friends and welcome to Episode 3 of the student influencers podcast hosted by Homework Help Global. My name is Cath Anne. On the student influencers podcast we talk to college and university students from around the world to gain their insights on their college experience. Today we’re lucky to have Justin here with us. Justin is a student who knows how to balance getting good grades with having a vibrant social life. Hey Justin welcome to the show. We’re happy to have you.

Justin Stewart: [00:00:31] Hi! I’m glad to be here.

Cath Anne: [00:00:33] Thank you so much for joining us.

Cath Anne: [00:00:36] So first let’s get to know you a little bit. So where do you live Justin?

Justin Stewart: [00:00:42] I live in Ann Arbor Michigan.

Cath Anne: [00:00:45] And is that where you spent your childhood or where you grew up?

Justin Stewart: [00:00:49] I grew up probably about 15 minutes outside of Ann Arbor in a town called Augusta, Michigan. And now I live in Ann Arbor because that’s where I attend school.

Cath Anne: [00:00:59] So what college are you going to?

Justin Stewart: [00:01:02] The University of Michigan.

Cath Anne: [00:01:04] OK. And what is your degree or your major?

Justin Stewart: [00:01:10] I study at the Ross School of Business so I’m pursuing a Bachelor of Business and administration with a concentration in business strategy.

Cath Anne: [00:01:18] Okay so what is business strategies entail?

Justin Stewart: [00:01:24] It mainly entails looking at businesses and see where they are lacking or where they’re doing really well in and given their strategies or how to improve or where to stay consistent at. So ultimately I want to pursue a career in consulting.

Cath Anne: [00:01:42] In consulting?

Justin Stewart: [00:01:42] Yes.

Cath Anne: [00:01:42] Would you want to start your own business around that?

Justin Stewart: [00:01:49] That’s not necessarily something I’m opposed to but I’m also… It’s not high on my agenda. I wouldn’t mind working for one of the big consulting firms and eventually becoming like a managing partner.

Justin Stewart: [00:02:01] Entrepreneurship isn’t bad on another spectrum.

Cath Anne: [00:02:05] Right. Yeah it’s kind of a different type of lifestyle I suppose.

Cath Anne: [00:02:11] So could you tell me is there something that you love about living in Michigan?

Justin Stewart: [00:02:22] I love Michigan because most of my family is here. But outside of that not too much.

Cath Anne: [00:02:30] So do you like to get away from Michigan? Do you like to travel?

Justin Stewart: [00:02:34] I love traveling. It’s funny every time I go to a different city.

Justin Stewart: [00:02:38] I kind of question why my parents chose Michigan to set up shop because everywhere else seems so much better with the weather because right now we’re in the middle of winter and it’s extremely cold.

Cath Anne: [00:02:52] Oh, I know it’s as I was saying earlier to you, it’s super cold here too we just got like 40 centimeters of snow the other day.

Cath Anne: [00:03:04] I can relate.

Cath Anne: [00:03:07] So let’s get into a little bit more of the questions around your college and university experience. How would you say university is different from high school?

Justin Stewart: [00:03:22] I would say university we have a lot more free time and less structure than more small high school you had to get up and go to school at a certain time when you were in school for seven hours and then you went home and worked on homework. And it was the same thing every single day Monday through Friday.

Cath Anne: [00:03:41] Right.

Justin Stewart: [00:03:41] Whereas now the university I don’t even have classes on Friday at all.

Justin Stewart: [00:03:46] And it’s more so you have to base your experience in college or university more off of intrinsic motivation because you have to be motivated yourself and wanna get up and go to class and you have to force yourself to do your homework. It’s really all about you because mom and dad aren’t there to say you have to go to school and that it isn’t something that you are necessarily required to do. It’s something that you have to wanna do yourself.

Cath Anne: [00:04:11] I really like that idea that intrinsic motivation. So what do you use for intrinsic motivation to get you up and going in the morning?

Justin Stewart: [00:04:22] Oh a lot of times I think about my long term goals and I know that I want to be successful in the long run.

Justin Stewart: [00:04:29] And I think of being in university is somewhat of a short term sacrifice for a long term payoff.

Cath Anne: [00:04:35] Right.

Justin Stewart: [00:04:35] So although I might not always want to get up out of bed and don’t always want to study… it’s somewhat what I have to do if I want to be successful so I think ultimately it will pay off.

Cath Anne: [00:04:48] I like that. So do you have a favorite memory or experience that you have encountered in college so far?

Justin Stewart: [00:04:58] Experience as far as academically or on campus?

Cath Anne: [00:05:04] Anything could be academically, could be a trip you went on, or anything really.

Justin Stewart: [00:05:12] Well since I go to a big football school by far my favorite experience is game day and it is something that I’ve never experienced until I got to college because like in high school we did have like athletic teams but just the school spirit at a big football school is unmatched compared to high school and to see everyone show their school spirit and all dressed up on game day.

Justin Stewart: [00:05:36] And also we have like a mindset at my school that you work hard and you play hard.

Justin Stewart: [00:05:40] So everyone Monday through Friday we’re in the library studying, getting stuff done and everyone’s grinding. And then one Saturday morning or Saturday afternoon it’s game day. Everyone’s ready to have fun and root on our school.

Cath Anne: [00:05:55] That sounds so fun.

Justin Stewart: [00:05:58] Yeah it’s a blast.

Cath Anne: [00:05:59] So can you tell me a little bit more about that? Like what happens on game day.

Justin Stewart: [00:06:03] On game day, there’s a ton of tailgates that keeps going around so if there is say it’s a game that started at noon everyone wakes up at about 7:00a.m. and you get so we get up at 7:00a.m. but no one really gets up at 7:00a.m. to go to class but get up at 7:00a.m. on a game day.

Justin Stewart: [00:06:23] To get up at 7:00a.m. and get all dressed and you go to a couple tailgates and then the game starts at noon. So you have tailgates and listen to music, play beer pong and socialize with everyone on campus and then around like 11:30 everyone heads to the big house which is our football stadium. And then you stay at the game for the first two quarters at least. But I typically leave around halftime. But some people stay the entire time and it’s just a blast.

Cath Anne: [00:06:55] So is your team good?

Justin Stewart: [00:06:57] Yeah it seems really good. This season we were OK but we’ve done really well in the West.

Cath Anne: [00:07:03] Wow what’s the name of your team?

Justin Stewart: [00:07:06] The Wolverines. Michigan Wolverines.

Cath Anne: [00:07:09] And what are your school colors?

Justin Stewart: [00:07:12] Maize and Blue.

Cath Anne: [00:07:13] Ok awesome. That sounds so fun. I love the guys get up at 7a.m.

Justin Stewart: [00:07:20] I will get up at 7a.m. To games but not any other day.

Cath Anne: [00:07:24] Oh my gosh that’s so amazing. I love it. That’s so cool.

Cath Anne: [00:07:29] I feel like I’ve never I haven’t experienced anything like that before. So there are a ton of people there?

Justin Stewart: [00:07:36] Yeah our school… I would say it’s probably 60,000 undergrad students.

Cath Anne: [00:07:45] What?! Really?

Justin Stewart: [00:07:46] I’m not 100 percent sure so don’t quote me on that but we’re a pretty big school and I think we actually have like the biggest college football stadium in America or something like that.

Justin Stewart: [00:07:59] Yeah.

Cath Anne: [00:08:00] That’s super cool. So were you a football fan before you went to Michigan?

Justin Stewart: [00:08:07] Somewhat… Like watching the Super Bowl when I didn’t like actively follow football but now that I go to school there, it’s kind of like a given.

Justin Stewart: [00:08:16] Like I have to follow sports there because we’re just so heavily like so heavy on sports there.

Cath Anne: [00:08:23] That’s so cool, I love that. Moving on away from the fun stuff a little bit.

Cath Anne: [00:08:30] Do you have any significant struggles or challenges that you’ve experienced as a student that kind of might give some insight to other students when they’re going through college or university?

Justin Stewart: [00:08:45] Off the top of my head I think of one course that I had to take in university was calculus one and at my school they call it math 115.

Justin Stewart: [00:08:56] And that class… Basically a prerequisite for any major like on campus.

Justin Stewart: [00:09:02] For the most part I would say probably like 75 percent of our majors or like different colleges within our university that you want to apply to, either be like the business school or school of public health… Math 115 or Calc 1 is a pre-requisite for that.

Justin Stewart: [00:09:18] And because it’s a prereq they kind of make it a weeder class so they make it extremely challenging and everyone is graded on a curve in that class so if the average the average in that class is a B minus. So if you’re under the average you’re at a C or C minus.. and most majors require that you get at least a C in that class. So it’s extremely competitive.

Justin Stewart: [00:09:44] It’s like go out with that class. You have to take the gateway exam and if you don’t pass the gateway within a certain time, your final letter grade in the course drops an entire letter grade and then you have these really challenging team homework assignments that are due every week.

Justin Stewart: [00:10:00] It’s just a really challenging course.

Justin Stewart: [00:10:04] It really tested me as a student going into university I really loved math that I actually considered doing the math minor but after taking that course, I’m like… oh my God I don’t know…. but I passed it and I persevered and I worked extremely hard. Then I applied to the school and got in but it was extremely challenging. So I guess one thing I would recommend for students who haven’t yet attended university is to never give up and try extremely hard and really make sure you time management and that’s easier said than done.

Justin Stewart: [00:10:40] But staying focused and trying to manage your time as best as you can is always important.

Cath Anne: [00:10:46] Have you encountered any strategies that has worked for you in terms of time management?

Justin Stewart: [00:10:53] Google calendar! That’s two words: Google Calendar! With everything that I have to do I put into my calendar I know and I go by my calendar.

Justin Stewart: [00:11:03] If I know that I need to study for this exam that I have coming up I block it into, put it on my calendar, if I have this assignment that’s due in two days it’s in my calendar; my classes are on my calendar or even have scheduled time to watch this TV show. My calendar is my best friend and I do one thing… With if have like midterms or projects coming up on a class I do like a countdown on my calendars so I have a pop up like oh the midterm for this class is in 21 days, and then I have another reminder that it when it’s in 14 days, and 7 days, and then when it’s in 3 days.

Justin Stewart: [00:11:39] So that way it’s reminding you that you don’t wait until the last minute like oh crap I have two days a midterm that’s worth 25 percent of my grade is coming up and to haven’t started studying to get.

Justin Stewart: [00:11:49] So just making sure you actually during the first week of classes when I get all my syllabi I go through all the important dates for all of my classes.

Cath Anne: [00:12:03] That’s so smart so you find a digital calendar like google calendar works better for you then.

Justin Stewart: [00:12:10] Yes 100 percent because google calendar I have it on my computer and then it syncs right up to my phone. It’s amazing, I love google calendar. My school… I think we actually use like all Google features or whatever so if I have a meeting with someone that also goes to my school I just put in their Gmail account and I can send them like a Google invite, it’s just extremely convenient.

Cath Anne: [00:12:35] That is very convenient. Do you have a lot of group projects in your business program?

Justin Stewart: [00:12:40] Yes. Yes I have projects every week, it’s insane.

Cath Anne: [00:12:47] Yeah I know that can be a challenging thing for some people. Do you have any thoughts around group projects?

Justin Stewart: [00:12:59] I like group projects if I’m in a good group but there are struggles with group projects and most of the time we’re placed into our group so we don’t get to choose them. But I found that now in some of my classes we take surveys on like our personality traits are, like a type are a work ethic and then our professors typically arrange us based off of that. I found that working extremely well because they go based off of your values or the type of motivation in the way that you go about doing your work.

Justin Stewart: [00:13:34] So if someone’s like a really assertive person, you might have one assertive person in the group, one person who’s big on time management, another person who likes doing research, so everyone meshes well and works extremely well together opposed to you’re in a group where you have all these type A people and everyone wants to be the leader in the group.

Justin Stewart: [00:13:56] It’s a lot of conflict within the realm, so sometimes it’s a catch 22 when working in groups but ultimately I think group work is far more effective than if I was to work individually.

Cath Anne: [00:14:07] Oh really. And I feel like it would also give you good experience for the working world.

Justin Stewart: [00:14:14] Yes I agree.

Cath Anne: [00:14:16] Cool. Thank you for that advice. I think that it’s really important and I know that some people really struggle with group work so it’s nice to hear from someone who enjoys it.

Cath Anne: [00:14:32] So this is a bit of a different question if you could go back and talk to your 15 year old self what would you say and what advice would you give?

Justin Stewart: [00:14:45] I would tell my 15 year old self to work harder.

Cath Anne: [00:14:49] Really? OK.

Justin Stewart: [00:14:51] Although even like within the high school setting and in my classroom I seem like a hard worker compared to my peers because that’s kind of like why I’m in the university that I am now because I worked hard back then. But looking back I don’t think I worked as hard as I could have.

Cath Anne: [00:15:09] OK.

Justin Stewart: [00:15:10] So it’s funny to say that I think in certain classes now or even back in high school if I would have utilize some of the resources that we had I would be further along than I even am right now.

Cath Anne: [00:15:25] Right. OK. So what kind of resources?

Justin Stewart: [00:15:27] So resources such as .. I guess applying to scholarships or taking this course and just learning as much and capitalizing on the many resources that you can get.

Cath Anne: [00:15:45] That’s interesting. I like that. Do you think your 15 year old self would have listened to you?

Justin Stewart: [00:15:52] Probably not. Probably not.

Justin Stewart: [00:15:57] And in a 15 year old didn’t listen too much. But is that what it is.

Cath Anne: [00:16:04] Yeah. You never know though.

Justin Stewart: [00:16:06] Yeah maybe I would have listened.

Cath Anne: [00:16:10] A little bit maybe.

Cath Anne: [00:16:14] So you talked a little bit about your long term goals. Did you want to expand on that at all? Do you have any short term or long term goals that you’re working on?

Justin Stewart: [00:16:24] A short term goal is to graduate from university within the next two semesters so after this semester I’m hoping that I can graduate with my bachelor’s in just two more semesters.

Cath Anne: [00:16:38] That’s amazing. Congratulations.

Justin Stewart: [00:16:40] Thank you.

Justin Stewart: [00:16:41] And then I guess another short term goal is to receive a job offer for full time at a great firm somewhere. Then just excel in my career… And long term goal I want to retire by 50.

Cath Anne: [00:16:58] Wow that’s an awesome goal holy moly.

Justin Stewart: [00:17:02] And maintaining that I’ve being debt free right now. I don’t have any student loans or anything. I’m trying to maintain that as well.

Cath Anne: [00:17:12] That’s incredible. Wow that’s amazing.

Cath Anne: [00:17:16] Good for you.

Justin Stewart: [00:17:17] Thank you.

Cath Anne: [00:17:18] Would you be open to going somewhere else if you got a great job offer?

Justin Stewart: [00:17:24] Like abroad or just a different city?

Cath Anne: [00:17:27] Just a different city?

Justin Stewart: [00:17:28] Yeah of course! Yeah.

Cath Anne: [00:17:31] You’d be open. So you’re looking potentially outside of Michigan for jobs?

Justin Stewart: [00:17:35] Definitely, most of the time I’ll be traveling anyway but.

Justin Stewart: [00:17:40] I don’t plan on staying in Michigan.

Cath Anne: [00:17:42] Right. Yeah I know that’s true I guess with consulting, you would be traveling a lot.

Cath Anne: [00:17:49] So if you had to summarize your life story, Justin; what would you say?

Justin Stewart: [00:17:55] Oh boy.

Cath Anne: [00:17:57] I know! That’s such a big question isn’t it?

Justin Stewart: [00:18:00] My life’s story… Oh boy.

Justin Stewart: [00:18:09] My name is Justin. I’m the youngest of two children.

Justin Stewart: [00:18:15] My parents raised me and my brother in southeastern Michigan. Growing up I attended school where I live at my local school from kindergarten through eighth grade. And then for high school I went to a Detroit public school called Cass Technical High School. And that’s my parents alma mater so they really encouraged me to attend there for high school… And now I attend the University of Michigan.

Justin Stewart: [00:18:43] I want to be an effective business leader and make the world a better place through business practices whether it be helping companies interact with their consumers better or just making the world overall better place and this in a better places, that’s ultimately my goal.

Cath Anne: [00:19:00] Oh I love that, that sounds so nice. That sounds like a great life story.

Cath Anne: [00:19:09] So what kind of advice would you give a student just entering college or university this year?

Justin Stewart: [00:19:19] Be open minded. And also go into college or university willing to make new friends and don’t automatically try to become friends with people that are similar to you because in a lot of cases I think people are somewhat homogeneous when they look for friends and are isolated within a friend group.

Justin Stewart: [00:19:44] But I think on a lot of college campuses there’s so much diversity and so many different people that if you’re open minded and you don’t just automatically try to go hang around people that are similar to you, you’ll just learn so much and it will be extremely rewarding.

Cath Anne: [00:20:02] That’s fantastic advice. I love that.

Cath Anne: [00:20:06] So to finish off the interview Justin, do you have a favorite motivational quote that you’d like to share?

Justin Stewart: [00:20:14] I do have a favorite one and I think it’s kind of cliche but it’s “never let the fear of striking out stop you from playing the game”.

Cath Anne: [00:20:24] Oh I love that. Yes. I don’t think it’s cliche it’s cliche because it’s – it’s good, it’s been used over and over right?

Justin Stewart: [00:20:33] It has been! And that’s the one that always resonates on top of my mind. So I guess a good quote.

Cath Anne: [00:20:39] It’s a great quote. I love that one. Keeps you motivated. Right?

Justin Stewart: [00:20:42] That’s for sure.

Cath Anne: [00:20:45] Well thank you so much. Is there anything else you’d like to say before we end the interview Justin?

Justin Stewart: [00:20:52] I don’t think so was there any other questions that you have?

Cath Anne: [00:20:56] That’s all the questions I have. But thank you so much for joining me. And I think that all of your amazing advice is going to go a long way to help other students. So thank you so much for sharing your story and your experiences with us.

Justin Stewart: [00:21:12] Anytime. Thank you.

Cath Anne: [00:21:15] Thanks Justin. Take care.

Cath Anne: [00:21:19] OK guys. So I hope you enjoyed our discussion with Justin and his comments on intrinsic motivation and what keeps him motivated throughout his university degree.

Cath Anne: [00:21:31] As always if you have any questions or you want to connect with us feel free to reach out to us on our social media platforms using the hashtag #askHHG. Share your comments with us on YouTube Facebook Twitter or Instagram. And of course here on Anchor, find us by searching Homework Help Global.

Cath Anne: [00:21:54] Have a great week guys.