Staying motivated to finish strong

By Elise Bechtel and Courtney Doucette  

The global pandemic that we are all facing today has impacted people in many different ways. One thing that is common amongst all students is the struggle to keep a motivated mindset to get to the end of the semester, while trying to stay in the best academic shape possible.  

The state of our education has shifted quite rapidly. For those who are regular online course takers, this may not be too different; but for those who are new to this way of learning, it can be a bit of a shock.  

Kendall Nadin, a first-year mechatronics major explained one strategy to The CI View. “One of the biggest ways that I’m staying motivated throughout this whole thing is by keeping in touch with a lot of my classmates and setting up group study sessions,” she said. “This way we can all keep each other on track and hold each other accountable for classes and assignments.” It is easy to feel alone in this situation, but Nadin’s strategy helps remind her that she is not the only one fighting for their education.  

 Scheduling is also important. A good way to stay on task and on top of assignments is by creating an extensive schedule and knocking things off as you go. Make sure to keep a calendar that has all of your assignments and classes written down. This will help you to stay organized and can give you a sense of completion.  

“… this is the first time I’m ever living (during) a pandemic and that we’re allowed to feel unmotivated.”

Estrella Castaneda, a first-year psychology major

“To stay motivated, I keep a planner and keep sticky notes on top to let me know what I have to do the next day,” said Estrella Castaneda, a first-year psychology major. Although this seems like a simple thing to do, this really helps keep her assignments and tasks in order. This organization has kept Castaneda driven to do her best in these tough times.  

Whenever feeling pressured Castaneda reminders herself “that this is the first time I’m ever living (during) a pandemic and that we’re allowed to feel unmotivated.” Allowing yourself to feel sad or discouraged is completely okay, and this is something more people need to know. When we are aware of the hurdle, it is easier to jump it. 

“What I have been doing since the coronavirus happened is that I write what I need to do on a piece of paper or in my planner and highlight the most important items I need to do in a bright color and the less important items in a bland color,” said Stefany Sanchez, a Chicano studies and psychology major. Sanchez finds task prioritization helpful for staying on top of her schoolwork, keeping her motivated to continue. 

Not only are students’ lives being impacted by this, but professors are having to adjust to this new way of teaching while also keeping their students in their best interest. Dr. Alison Perchuk of CI’s art department said, “It’s important to be realistic about what your own circumstances are and to be aware of what specific challenges you might face, but also to know that your faculty are there for you to help you with those challenges.”  

Finding the reality in the situation by not simplifying or elevating it is a great way of viewing the current academic climate. She furthermore said it would be helpful to, “try to think whether there has been some space created that you can fill with additional attention, say to a research project that you find really exciting.” Finding a positive in this situation is a great way of helping you get through. 

Perchuk would like to tell any student dealing with these current circumstances that “we all respond differently. So if you find yourself really feeling unmotivated, it’s not surprising … But try to think about why you have gone to school, think about what it is that you want from your education.”  

One useful strategy Perchuk shared is, “The night before you go to bed, you say, ‘Okay, tomorrow I’m going to do these four things.’ And then when they’re done, you’re done for the day. Reward yourself.”  

A good night’s sleep and eating well allows a person’s mind to work at its best capacity. Oxfordlearning.com says that “students of all ages should get at least eight hours of sleep every school night. It’s the best way to ensure that the brain is refreshed and ready to process all of the information learned during the day”. Eating properly helps us stay focused when we might otherwise be distracted by the things in our surroundings. 

The current state of the world is changing everything about our daily lives and it is difficult to remind yourself to stay on top of things and to finish as strongly as you can, but this does not have to restrain us from doing so.  

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