Getting through college is one of the toughest experiences you will have in your life. As you face social, academic, and financial demands left and right, you will feel exhausted and tempted to just give up. But leaving college for lack of motivation is seldom a wise decision. Rather than dropping out, why not work on your motivation instead?
“What should I do so I can learn how to get motivated?” This is a question a lot of college students face. College motivation is important to find your way to not only surviving but thriving in your first semester and beyond. The will to keep moving is vital to studying regardless of your chosen major. The problem for many college students is that they become less motivated, or “demotivated,” over time. So what can you do? In this post, we look at some of the ways to increase and maintain your sense of motivation while in college.
Why We Lose Motivation?
There are many factors that cause demotivation. Causes tend to differ from one student to another. Some students lose motivation because they are not interested in their choice of major, and some get discouraged due to a lack of resources. Here are some of the more common reasons why students lose college motivation:
- There is just too much to do. Where do you start? What should you prioritize? Is there an end to all your requirements? When books, readings, and assignments keep piling up, your hope and excitement go down. Even the most diligent students have their limits.
- Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines. They just keep coming. Requirements can increase to the point of being stressful and demotivating. When they all take place at the same time, what happens is you just get overwhelmed. Many college students refer to this time 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.
- Reduced socialization. You start to spend less time with your family and friends. Missing out on an outing with your clique for the fourth time can make you feel guilty. But how can you join them when you have essays to take care of? Loneliness and isolation can get you down and rob you of your momentum.
- You lack resources. Studying is much easier when you have the tools you need. But when you have other things to worry about, like where you can find this rare book or where you will get the payment for next semester, emotions can quickly go south.
- You are just tired. Sometimes, simple exhaustion is enough to make you lose your motivation. You get demotivated when coursework becomes like a battering ram that constantly pounds on your door.
- Overall, things just became difficult. To say that everything is falling apart is a bit of an exaggeration, though not an inaccurate one. When your planned schedules, events, routines, and regimens no longer take place, when your life now seems to just revolve around school, it may truly feel like everything is just falling apart.
Motivation serves a significant role in our lives by keeping us strong and encouraging us to pursue our goals in life. Getting demotivated puts you in a dangerous situation because it is at this state of mind where you are most vulnerable. Lack of motivation makes you feel down, lazy, and unable to do your tasks. While willpower can help you last a bit longer, motivation is what lets you reach your dreams and find fulfillment.
Motivation is an absolute must-have for everyone, especially college students. But motivation is something you cannot buy; college motivation must come from within you. 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 for motivating yourself if done properly.
1. Re-orient yourself
Exhaustion is one of the top reasons why you lose motivation. Your mind and body get all muddled, and you find yourself feeling lost. What you need to do at this point is re-orient yourself. You can do this by (1) getting a clearer vision of your goals and (2) getting the energy you need. These two factors are crucial if you want to get motivated again.
The question is: how do you get clarity of vision and energy? The answer is: drop everything. Find a quiet place, close your eyes for a few minutes, relax your muscles, and take deep breaths. Focus on your aims. Do this a couple of times if you need to. When you lose your college motivation, zoning out completely for a few moments can get you motivated again.
2. Take a break every now and then
Many college students and even professionals experience burnout. It happens when you are overwhelmed, particularly when you have been studying or working for so long that you lose your sense of purpose and accomplishment. Many people believe that the essence of how to stay motivated is to keep doing what you love. This is far from the truth.
Everyone gets tired from doing anything for too long, even the things we are most interested in or passionate about. 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 once in a while, watch the best movies on Netflix, get long hours of sleep, and just 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.
3. Rest your routine
Most college students establish a routine at the beginning of every semester as it gets them started on how to get motivated. But many also fall behind their routine when studying gets too difficult. As students believe that they must adhere to their routine, deviating just makes them feel guilty and lose college motivation. When this happens, you need to reset your routine.
You should remind yourself that you can be flexible. Reconsider your routine: what can you fit in your tight schedule, and what can you do to maintain it? It will definitely 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. It also allows you to get back on track with your motivation levels.
4. Look for new studying spots
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 they find comfortable. Others, however, lose college motivation from always staying in the same place. Look for the best study spots on any campus that you’re around to find the one that will work well for you. Overall, just think about the factors that are important to you, such as noise, coziness, light, and ventilation, and then look for that spot.
If you find that your usual spot is no longer doing it for you, 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.
5. Try out some extracurricular activities
Studying in college can be boiled down to this: read, memorize, write essays, and take exams. Though the order in which you do these varies, these are the main tasks you perform throughout your four years in college. When you dedicate yourself to just studying, it can get very boring and exhausting after a while until it drains your college motivation.
Just as with looking for a new place to study, add spice to your life! Look for new hobbies or interests that you can devote some of your energy to. Not only will you have some fun in the midst of requirements but also you will actually regain college motivation. Having some extracurricular activities to try in college is one of the best ways to get you going again. And the best part is you acquire new skills or knowledge that you can use even after graduating.
6. Go outside and explore
If you are simply exhausted or unmotivated to do anything related to studies, take a walk outside, stroll around the malls or the park, or go window shopping. Walking around outside will give you a sense of escape, or at least a short period of rest, from the daily grind of studying. It often surprises people when they realize how much they miss out on life by just taking a walk outside. As they say, stop and smell the flowers.
Going out and exploring allows you to re-establish a connection with the outside replenish the college motivation that got slowly depleted over the course of the school year. Yes, it does sound counterintuitive: studying less to study more. But hear this out: success in college sometimes requires that you stay away from it for a bit. Everything benefits from some breathing space.
7. Vent your stress to a friend
In our short guide on idioms, one of the examples we presented is to “let off some steam.” This idiom is drawn from the phenomenon of water turning into steam when heated. Heat causes water to lose its form and escape by turning into steam. Something similar happens to college students - too much pressure can cause students to lose their composure.
The only way for students to return to the original form is by letting off some steam, and who can help you out better than a friend or a loved one? Socialization is a primary need that everyone must fulfill. In fact, Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs identifies connecting with people as an important need. While playing video games or watching the best series on Netflix can help take away some of the stress, these do not come close to having a shoulder to lean on. So go ahead and talk to a friend!
8. Remain calm
Everything feels like it is falling apart, 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. The more stress you get, the less focused and productive you become.
Maybe you were succeeding before and are struggling now. But that does not mean that you have run out of luck and are now on a downward spiral to failure. You will get your big break; you will succeed one day. In other words, just stay calm and give it some time. College is a rollercoaster: there are ups, and there are downs. In the end, it will be over, and you will realize how much fun it has been. So relax. When you do, you will feel your college motivation coming back to you.
9. 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 the harsh realities of life. It is okay to feel sad when you commit errors or go through tough times. But do not dwell on your sadness. Forgive yourself and trust that there are brighter days ahead.
Many look at optimism as a way of coping with mistakes and failures. But many also mistake what optimism is. Optimism is not about being blind to the bad things in life; it is accepting that there are bad things, yet we are strong enough to go through them. It has been implied several times here, but nothing beats spelling it out: college motivation lies within you, and it starts with being kind to yourself.
10. Get a professional writer to help you
You’ve probably heard it before: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” We are not trying to scare you with this famous line from The Shining. 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 know 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.
What this list of tips tells us is that learning how to get motivated—or how to stay motivated—is all about taking care of yourself. Your physical and mental health plays a large role in keeping you motivated. When you are tired, rest. When you need help, do not be afraid to ask. We advise that you make this your mantra: relax and be kind to yourself. You deserve it for coming this far.
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