I have three exams tomorrow, two papers to write, work at 5 p.m., my professor’s office hours and a group project due this Friday. So what do I do? I hop in my bed and watch Netflix for the next four hours hoping my responsibilities magically disappear.
Did any of that sound familiar to you? If so, you know how stressful it is to be a college student. With all of these responsibilities, obligations and duties thrown at you, it can seem like you just can’t catch a break and it’s tempting to give up. Without any motivating resources, it can be extremely difficult to keep your head above the water.
According to the Nacada Clearinghouse, an academic advising resource center based at Kansas State University, there are several factors that inhibit students from getting and staying motivated. How interesting or important a task is, whether or not we’re goal oriented, our expectation of how we’ll do and test anxiety can all impact our ability to maintain the drive to be successful. Our challenge as students is to identify something that can get us productive and keep that drive, so we’re not tempted to give up and get involved with activities, such as Netflix, that won’t help us.
College Board’s top five motivation tips are to focus on high-impact activities, create new challenges, set attainable goals, find a social support network and acknowledge our accomplishments. These tips alone can be a start to get anyone working on themselves academically, physically, mentally and emotionally.
I’ve struggled with motivation in the past, and my all-time lows were in college. Seeing all these responsibilities in front of me was not enough for me to want to do them, in fact it was much more unappealing. I had to figure out what would push me to take on these responsibilities and do what was required of me to the best of my ability.
Set realistic goals. Tell yourself that you can and will get it done – whatever that may be.
I started doing things like rewarding myself with an episode of my favorite show at the end of a homework session, or laying in bed for an extra five minutes the next morning. Sometimes I’d even give myself a trade: Start working on that group assignment due next Thursday and you can eat two slices of pizza instead of one. These little games I played with myself actually made me productive, and I worked hard. I took note in previous times I was able to get things done and what got me to do those things for future reference.
Whether it’s seeing that special someone, going on your well-deserved vacation, eating your favorite food or hanging out with your friends, identify who or what makes it all worth it for you. Give yourself a little motivational speech. Set realistic goals. Tell yourself that you can and will get it done – whatever that may be. Every day is another opportunity for you to start fresh and prove to yourself that you can do this, and you will.