Ask Anna: Motivation

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Anna Lowenthal, Editor-in-Chief

 

Q: Dear Anna, how do I keep myself motivated and focused when college, work and everyday life are stressing me out?

A: Sometimes, life happens. It seems to dump its load of misery onto us when we least need it. Our computers crash right before the research paper’s deadline, our bosses refuse to let us have the night off work when we’ve been asking for it for weeks and our bank accounts are dwindling into single digits just as rent is due.

It can be really hard to prevent life’s stressors from getting in the way of your personal work ethic, but there are ways to work around those obstacles and still stay motivated and focused on your goals even when everything else in your life seems to be going awry.

Don’t always think about the big picture. As crazy as it sounds, the big picture might be too much for you to handle right now. If you know that you’ve got two papers, a presentation and an exam as well as two shifts at Steak n’ Shake and a dentist appointment this week, you don’t want to overwhelm yourself with trying to take care of everything at once.

Make a list of the things you need to do, and then plan and prioritize, detail by detail, a few things to be done each day so that you stay caught up with all of the aspects of your life without blowing a head gasket or losing innumerable hours of sleep. If you spread out your workload instead of bogging yourself down all at once, you’re much less likely to have a panic attack.

Letting yourself get stressed out beyond the point of no return is one of the key ways to lose your motivation and make want to tear your hair out and give up on college. Keeping your workload evenly managed will help you stay sane and keep you focused on your end goal – survival….I mean, graduation.

Lean on your friends. As simple as it may sound, they definitely know what you’re going through. A quick conversation with a friend might be all that you need to keep you from losing your cool over the test that you bombed or the group project that didn’t go as planned. We’re all in the same boat, here, and we all know exactly what it’s like to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown nearly 24/7. Your friends might have some wise advice on the subject and can hopefully ease your stresses and keep your eyes on the prize so you don’t lose your motivation along the long, bedraggled path to a higher education.

Remember that the end is near. Though right now, it may seem as though you’re swimming in stress with midterms coming around the corner, there will be an end to it. Spring break is coming, and after that, the end of the semester. Knowing that you’ve got something to look forward to in the future will help keep you motivated now. Make yourself some plans for spring break, and when you’re tearing out your hair over your textbooks, just remind yourself that, soon, you’ll be soaking up the sun on a sandy beach and the effort will all have been worth it.

Whether you plan out your life to keep it on track, go to a friend for guidance or bank on a future reward to keep you going, make sure you do whatever you can to stay motivated at school. This is one of the most formative and exciting times of our lives – don’t let the stresses of this time ruin your enjoyment of it!