Thriving or Barely Surviving?

By: Brittany Montana, Clinical Intern

Motivation in college can wax and wane depending on your classes, activities, and daily schedule. College often seems exciting as a freshman when everything is new and interesting. After the first year when students have gotten used to college life, there is a general trend of decreased motivation to do homework or attend classes. Students lose interest when they stop seeing life around them through the fresh lens of a newbie. This can lead to a decreased motivation to do everyday tasks, such as homework or attending classes. Students can become blasé about being productive when there is nothing fun to look forward to in their day. Lack of motivation can lead to feeling like you’re simply surviving rather than thriving as a student.

It’s normal to feel like you just want to stay at home and binge-watch Breaking Bad, but there are ways to improve your outlook on the daily grind, and therefore your ability to do work:

  • Stay realistic: Identifying short and long-term goals is a great first step in improving personal motivation. You can’t improve your work if you’re not working towards anything. However, goals should be specific, realistic, and achievable. Cultivate a more realistic outlook by honestly assessing what you have to get done and how to spread out your tasks. Having trouble getting that short film project started? Instead of viewing it as One Big Project, try breaking it down into smaller, easier parts to work on throughout time. Assigning yourself to write 1 page a day can make a 20 page paper seem like less mountain and more molehill, and you’ll save yourself the grief later on when you’re not cramming it all in overnight.
  • Flexible schedule: Only allotting 5 hours straight for an assignment the night before it’s due isn’t practical for most students and often leads to stress or anxiety. Make sure you’re creating a flexible schedule that allows for ample time to complete tasks, while also making time for eating, sleeping, and relaxing. Your goals and daily schedule shouldn’t just include work and responsibilities – your mental health is important too, and you can’t be as effective in your work if you’re not taking time for yourself.
  • Spice it up: It’s easy to get into comfortable habits in your own little bubble, but this can cause boredom and make students less likely to want to go out and do things. Make it a point to join a new organization, go to a comedy club, or talk to someone you don’t know. You don’t just have to have fun on the weekends either; make it a point to do something different every day, even if only for 15 minutes. Look up a new recipe for dinner or get coffee from a different café today. You’d be surprised how much the little things matter.

 

Resources:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/03/education/edlife/getting-over-the-sophomore-slump.html?_r=0

http://psychology.about.com/od/mindex/g/motivation-definition.htm

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-science-success/201106/the-3-biggest-myths-about-motivation-won-t-go-away