Back to School: Seven Ways to Stay Motivated in Second Semester

Textbooks? Check. Pencils? Check. Notebooks? Check. Motivation? … Motivation? Where did it go? I must have left it in first semester!

If this is you, do not get too stressed out. Check out these tips on how to keep motivation in second semester.

1. Perspective

If you repeatedly tell yourself that you do not want to do your homework or attend class, you will dread it even more. Remember that you are in school to get your degree. Class and homework are not pointless. You are learning and practicing critical thinking skills. You are not doing Spanish vocabulary exercises. You are learning how to read, write and speak Spanish. You are not practicing and giving a pointless speech. You are learning  the valuable skill of public speaking. Keep your mind positive, focus on the learning aspects of your work, and it will make it less of a painful struggle.

2. Fun Breaks

Do not spend all day every day focused on homework. Give your mind a break. When you have a couple of free hours, do something fun, so you do not feel like all you do is homework. Go out with friends, go to a park, watch a movie, go out to dinner or play games. If you only have a few minutes to spare, have a snack, chat with a friend or draw in a notebook. You will feel a lot better when you sit down to finish the day’s assignments.

3. Connect With People

Build a support group with several friends. If someone is not feeling up to school, exchange encouraging words and help keep each other motivated. It is a nice feeling to know there is somebody looking out for you. Be there for your friends, and they will be there for you.

If you do not have friends in your classes, do not worry about it. Introduce yourself to a classmate. Ask the professor questions. Connect with and get to know the people that surround you during the week. Make your environment a comfortable one, and you will be more excited to attend class.

4. Daily Goals and Achievement List

Write out some daily assignment goals in a spare notebook. For example, if you have more time to do homework on a Tuesday, write out a plan acknowledging which assignments will take longer and should be completed on that day, instead of squeezing them in between classes on a Wednesday. It is a successful, stress-reducing feeling to know that you have it planned out. Make sure that your plan is attainable, so that you do not feel unproductive if you are unable to finish everything you have written down.

Once you have written out goals and have stuck to them, write down a list of all of your achievements. It makes it worthwhile to celebrate the little victories. Get an A on a paper? Add it to the list. Did you feel confident in a speech you gave? Write it down. Motivation is not some great energy that you always have. You find it in yourself through the things you are and do.

5. Organization

Keeping your papers in order and your room clean will have a positive impact on your mental state. If you keep your workspace mess free, know where your textbooks are and keep all your notes for a class in the same place, you will have less of an issue finding them later and be able to take on homework with a less overwhelmed mind.

6. Seek Help If Necessary

Just because you got a C on a math test does not mean you are not capable of understanding math. Just because you received an essay back with a lot of markdowns for grammar does not mean that you are hopeless at writing an essay.  If you do not understand math or do not feel confident about your essay, do not suffer in silence. Seek help from a tutor in the Student Success Center. There are plenty of people there to work with you until you better understand the area you are struggling in.

7. Make It Personal

Let’s be honest, homework is not usually fun. To boost your motivation levels a bit, invest in some notebooks with fun patterns or some colorful mechanical pencils. Take chapter notes with gel pens. Looking at blue and pink writing can makes it a little more enjoyable. What is your favorite color? Buy a textbook cover in a color or theme that you like. It is the little things that make homework slightly less painful.


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