How to Be (and Stay) Motivated in College

“What should I do so I can learn how to get motivated?” College motivation is important for many students to not only surviving but thriving your first semester in any university—it is a vital component of any action or endeavor, regardless of profession. The problem for many college students, however, is that they become less motivated, or “demotivated,” as the months go by. Eventually, they will find themselves drained and unwilling to continue the goal that initially had them excited.

How do students lose college motivation?

Why we get demotivated

There are numerous factors that lead to being demotivated. Most commonly, here are reasons why students lose college motivation:

  • There is so much to study for. Where do you start? Which do you prioritize? When books and readings keep piling up, our hope and excitement go down tremendously.
  • Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines—and they just keep going. Requirements can increase to the point of being overwhelmingly stressful and demotivating. When they all take place at the same time, what is happening is what some college students refer to as “hell week.”
  • Your professors have high standards. Remember when they preached about the types of plagiarism and how to avoid them at the beginning of the semester? You probably miss that now in the face of D and F marks on your paper and the grumpiness of your professor. When the going gets rough, even becoming friends with your professor can only get you so far.
  • You start to spend less time with your family and friends. Missing out on an outing with your clique for the 4th time can make you feel guilty, but how can you join them when you have essays to take care of?
  • Overall, things just became difficult. To say that “everything is falling apart” is a bit of an exaggeration, though not a large one. Your planned schedules, events, routines, and regimens no longer take place. Now, your life seems to just revolve around school.

Motivation serves a significant role in our lives by letting us stay close and strong to pursuing our goals in life. When you get demotivated, or have no motivation at all, you are in a dangerous situation because it is at this state where you feel like giving up. It makes us feel down and lazy, sometimes even unable to do our tasks. And while willpower allows us to last a bit longer, motivation is what lets us ultimately achieve the goals and feel the fulfillment that nothing else can give us. Hence, motivation is an absolute must-have for everyone, especially college students. However, you cannot force yourself to be motivated—college motivation must be something that is generated from within. If you want to learn how to get motivated again, here are some tips on how to be (and stay) motivated in college. These tips are also useful on how to stay motivated, if done properly.

Re-orient yourself

Most probably, your mind and body jumbled are exhausted, and you yourself feel lost. What you need to do at this point is to re-orient yourself. You can do this by (1) getting a clearer vision of your goals and (2) having energy, as these two are some of the important factors you need to get college motivation.`This, then, begs the question: how do you get such energy and clarity of vision? Drop everything, find a quiet place, take deep breaths, relax, close your eyes for a few minutes, and focus on what you have been aiming for. Do this a couple of times, if you have to. When you lose your college motivation, this is how to get motivated again.

Take a break every now and then

Burnout: many college students and professionals experience this. It happens when you do something, particularly studying or working in general, for so long that you become tired and lose the sense of accomplishment—and, ultimately, college motivation—that you once had. Many people believe that the essence of how to stay motivated is to keep doing what we love. This is far from the truth. Everyone gets tired from doing anything for too long, even the things we are most interested in. When this happens, it is not because we do not love it anymore; we are just tired of doing it, and it is okay to admit that. Take a break every now and then, watch the best movies on Netflix, have long hours of sleep—rest. It is okay to stop giving 100% for a while. In fact, it actually lets you learn how to stay motivated and give 200% later on.

Reset your routine

Every college student designates a routine at the beginning of every semester as it gets them started on how to get motivated. Over time, however, they stop following it due to school getting too difficult. And because they believe their routine to be something that has to be accomplished, they feel guilty and, consequently, lose college motivation. When this happens to you, you need to reset your routine. You do this by reconsidering your current situation: what can you fit in your tight schedule and how do you maintain it? Definitely, it will be difficult, especially in the midst of exhaustion and during the middle of the semester. But being able to follow a routine gives a feeling of accomplishment, even just a little, and allows us to get back on track on how to get motivated.

Look for new spots for studying

Where do you usually study? Does it bring in sunlight or wind from the outside? Some college students feel motivated to study in a place that is comfortable for them. Others, however, lose college motivation from staying in the same place over time. Some factors can be considered: noise, lack of comfort, and ventilation are just some. In general, however, it is because it is too tiring to be in the same place. The solution is to change it up. Try going to various coffee shops or libraries, preferably with outlets, to study in. Or, you can simply change your position in the place—a different room in your house or dorm, perhaps, if you prefer studying at home. A change of scenery can help freshen up your mind and provide newfound college motivation.

What are the best study spots on any campus?

Try out some extracurricular activities

Studying in college can be boiled down into this: read, memorize, write essays, exams. Though they can change form in one way or another, these are the same all throughout the four years of college. When you dedicate yourself to just studying, after a while, it can get very boring and exhausting, and slowly drain your college motivation. Just as with looking for a new place to study at, spice it up! Keep yourself busy by looking for new hobbies or interests to devote some of your energy to. Not only will you have some fun in the midst of requirements; you will actually regain college motivation. Having some extracurricular activities to try in college is one of the best ways of how to get motivated, as you may also apply some of what you learn in them in your future career.

How to be motivated? How to stay motivated?

Go outside and explore

If you are simply exhausted or unmotivated to do anything at all related to studies, take a walk outside, stroll around the malls or the park, or go window shopping. Walking around outside allows you to give a sense of escape, or at least a short period of rest, from the daily grind of studying. It might come as a surprise to some people about how much they missed out on life. Giving yourself time to go out and explore allows you to re-establish a connection with the outside, and replenish the college motivation that slowly depleted over the course of the school year. Yes, it does sound counterintuitive: studying less to study more. But hear us out on this: success in college sometimes requires that you stay away from it for a bit.

Vent your stress to a friend

In our short guide on idioms, one of the examples of idioms we presented is to “let off some steam.” This idiom is drawn from the phenomenon of water that is heated to the point that it releases steam due to the water not maintaining its from being exposed to heat. A similar phenomenon occurs to college students; after being exposed to so much pressure, they start to lose their composure and get flustered. The only way for them to return to form is to let off steam—and that is best done with a friend or a loved one. Socialization is a primary need that everyone must fulfill. In fact, it is part of the third level of Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a psychological theory which attempts to explain how one may solidify—or “actualize”—their identity. Granted, playing video games or watching the best series on Netflix can help take away some of the stress. However, none of them come close to having a shoulder to lean on. 

Remain calm

Everything feels like it is falling apart, and you are panicking and on the verge of breaking down. You do not know how to get motivated, let alone how to stay motivated. Can you panic? Yes. Should you panic? No—and it is best that you do not. If your college motivation is an indication of anything, it is the concept that “all things come to an end.” However, it is also an indication of another thing: “all things begin somewhere.” Just because you were succeeding before and are failing now, it does not mean that you are all out of luck and now on a downward spiral to failure. Eventually, you will get your big break; you will succeed one day. In other words, remain calm. Just as life itself, college is a rollercoaster: there are ups, just as there are downs. In the end, it will be over, and you will realize how much fun it is. So, relax. When you do, you will feel your college motivation coming back to you.

Be kind to yourself

Do not know what to do if you fail a subject? Do not beat yourself up. Failed that essay that you worked so hard on? Do not beat yourself up. Have to repeat another year in college? Do not beat yourself up. Failures and mistakes are harsh realities of life. While many look to optimism as a way of coping with these, many, too, mistake what optimism is. It is not being blind to the bad things in life; it is accepting that there are bad things and that we are strong enough to go through them. Hence, while it has been previously implied several times here, it must be directly stated here: college motivation lies in oneself, and it starts with being kind to oneself.

Get a professional writer to help you

"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." We are not trying to scare you here or anything with that famous The Shining line. Our point is if you try to work on your research papers and essays while you are feeling down, it will only make your output worse. If you are well-aware that you cannot meet every academic requirement you have all at once, then go ahead and trust the experts. Find a trustworthy online writing service, and get a professional writer to help you.

In the end, learning how to get motivated—or how to stay motivated—is all about taking care of yourself. Your mental health plays a large role in keeping you motivated. With that said, we advise that you make this a mantra: relax, and be kind to yourself. You owe it to yourself for coming this far.

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