Let’s rewind to the beginning of September. I don’t know about you, but the week before school I was pretty excited. With four months of summer turning my brain to mush, I was ready to conquer the next school year. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great summer with many memorable adventures, but there’s just something about the beginning of a new school year. Maybe it’s the smell of autumn infused with that new textbook smell and the prospects of a wonderful year ahead. You make resolutions with yourself to stay on top of your work so you won’t fall into the pitfalls of procrastination like last year.
Yes, I’m sure many of us have been there before and this all sounds too familiar. In the beginning, there is that strong willed motivation and then… come October you’ve lost your thunder and have booked yourself a one-way ticket to procrastination station. There are many reasons why this happens and it can come to the best of us at any point of the year. Whether it’s boredom from the humdrum of routine, not keeping up with time management or just being overwhelmed by letting things pile up.
So my question is :
How do you keep that spark and motivation alive?
I asked friends and fellow students what they do when they lose their motivation. Many of the answers I got resembled the following:
1. I look at my bank account and realizing the amount I pay for school scares me back into my studies
2. I need good grades to get into grad school, have a good career, etc.
3. I don’t want to let my family down
These are all different mentalities that you can get yourself into in order to know you have to buckle down and just work at it. I know exactly what works for me, but sometimes it’s more than just getting into that mentality. These are all great ways to get back on track, but sometimes you just have to think outside the box and get a little inspiration. Here are a couple of helpful things I like to do to keep myself on track:
1. Remember why you love what you’re learning.
For the most part, we are all in our respective fields of study because of a genuine passion for what we are learning. Unfortunately, sometimes when we read or do things because we have to and not because we just want to, it can take the fun out of it.
The cure: Read for the fun of it, watch a play, or join a club related to your field of study. On the flip side, you can also expand your horizons and join a club in something totally unrelated to your major or take an elective class to spice things up for a change.
2. Set up a reward system
Sometimes school becomes the killjoy of your social life. You’re forced to stay in and study, all the while being rather counterproductive because you keep thinking about what you’re missing out on and wishing you were out having a good time instead.
The cure: I like to set up reward systems, whether big or small to allow myself to take a break and just enjoy things. For example, I tell myself: If I read two chapters now and finish the outline of my essay, I will let myself watch a movie tonight. Try to keep things within reason and make your rewards worth the work you put in first. It makes your nights out rewarding and not just an escape from stress.
3. We’re all in this together
When midterms are around the corner, it can be very isolating and frustrating. In general, sometimes you get the feeling that you’re all alone and it can be very discouraging and make you want to just throw in the towel.
The cure: Keep yourself around like-minded and inspirational people. Try talking to people in your classes to form study groups. That way you can all keep each other on track and it`s also a great way to meet people and network.