Staying Motivated in School

School is going to be different this year. Whatever school looked like for you last September, you’re undoubtedly experiencing some changes. For those of us who had online learning in the spring, it was a new challenge. And for me personally, motivation was at an all time low.

Regardless of how school is looking for you, whether you’re back in person or plugging away on the computer, you probably need a boost of motivation. I know I do!

Before we get started with the tips, I think it’s important to address control. As a stressed control-freak student, I think about everything and how it plays into my plans. Don’t do that. I’ve been there, and with the world in uncertain times, you’re going to tire yourself out very quickly. Acknowledge there are some things you can’t control and move on. Save your focus for what truly matters.

What you can control

You can’t control the number of cases in the country. You can’t control when school goes back to “normal”. So stop focusing on it (that said, of course you’re going to think about it, you just can’t think about it all the time). What can you control? You control your attitude. You control your effort. And thankfully, those are the two most important things when it comes to school.

(I think it’s important to add on that you control your attitude and effort within reason. Your mental health is the number one priority in these times.)

Your attitude

First, let’s focus on the positive aspects of school! I know this can be hard, but if you can find anything that is appealing/fun about school, then you now have something to focus on when you need to get through your courses.

Maybe you love learning, or that you can go to school in pajamas. Time to break out the fancy school supplies. Are you excited to see friends? It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you can think of something, big or small, that helps bring a smile to your face.

Next, remember your attitude towards yourself. You can’t go into the school year expecting yourself to be a superhero genius. Give yourself realistic expectations and goals, and be kind to yourself if something goes wrong. You’re not invincible, and mistakes happen!

Your effort

Effort looks different for each and every person! If your best effort is six hours of studying every day, good for you (I’m impressed, but also, don’t overwork yourself). If your best effort is working through courses on your laptop while in bed, that’s fine. If you need to show up in sweatpants, that’s fine. If you can’t get out of bed, that’s fine. As long as you are doing the best you can right now, what more can you ask from yourself?

Set a routine

One of the most helpful things you can do for yourself is to set a routine. Even if you’re going back to school in-person, you can plan a homework routine. This gives you a sense of control and of normalcy. Plus, once you’ve gotten used to a routine, you’re more likely to stick to it! It will be less of a struggle to get yourself working.

Have a separate working space

This may be something you work towards; if you’re at the work-in-bed stage, that’s alright. Often though, your productivity increases by separating your work life from your home life. When you get to your workspace, you can switch your brain into focus mode and get things done! Then, when you leave that space, you can leave school worries behind.

Keep a clean workspace

Physical clutter = mental clutter = stress and procrastination. By keeping your workspace clean, it will seem like less of a big deal to get things done. Rather than focusing on all the things you need to clean, you can concentrate on the one task you have.

Exercise, eat well, and get enough sleep

These things help you be a more energetic and happier student. A proper student life isn’t ten hours of studying, it’s actually a combination of hard work, exercise, eating properly, and sleeping enough.

By getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and doing some form of fitness, you help your brain so that when it comes time to study, you’re mentally present and ready to do so!

And remember…

You got this! That’s my favourite thing to tell myself when something starts to get too overwhelming. Can I do this? Yes, I got this. Take a deep breath, and keep going, because I can get this done. Whatever you choose to tell yourself (it better be something positive), you got this.