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How to Stay Motivated All Semester Long

College can be one of the most fun and rewarding times of your life, but it can also be challenging. You might start the semester out strong, excited about your new classes, and willing to put in your best effort. However, many students find it can become overwhelming after the first few assignments or tests, leading to decreased motivation and sluggish ambition. School, work, and managing your social life can feel like they’re piling up all at once with your scholarly obligations.

How does anyone remain motivated throughout the entire semester? What’s the best way to stay strong until the last final is complete? To keep that energy strong, remember these six motivators: 

1. Surround Yourself With Motivated Friends

One of the toughest parts of college is balancing your social life with your responsibilities. University campuses are designed to help you connect with other people, so there are often fun activities every night of the week. Many students live with their friends, and it’s difficult to say no to an invitation when you have homework to do. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with people who are a positive influence. You can also utilize study areas at your student housing complex to work with roommates and friends who live close. 

When you have friends who prioritize their schoolwork, you don’t have to choose between doing your homework and hanging out. You can walk to the library together or order pizza while working on homework at home. When you combine working on homework and hanging out with friends, it will be easier to finish all your assignments because you have someone else to motivate you. 

Sometimes working on homework with friends can be distracting, so if you’re prone to interrupting your work to chat, try putting headphones in and establishing how long you’ll work before taking a break to talk. 

2. Don’t Be Afraid To Take Breaks When You Need Them

One of the biggest causes of student burnout is not allowing yourself to relax early in the semester. While it’s great to give your best effort at the beginning of the school year, it’s important to make time for friends and hobbies. Otherwise, you’ll likely lose motivation. Allowing yourself some rest is essential for maintaining your mental health

Try to plan a fun activity at least once a week, even if it’s for a short amount of time. Be sure to see your friends regularly. Make sure you’re also taking small breaks throughout the day. Go for a quick walk after you’ve done an hour or two of homework, or visit the gym in between classes. 

The activity you choose to do during your break isn’t as important as making sure you’re taking breaks. Your brain needs time to rest. Without it, you may feel some burnout before the semester is through. 

3. Use The Help That’s Available 

Most colleges have an abundance of resources designed to set students up for success. Writing centers traditionally have tutors available to help with writing assignments for any subject. T.A’s are there to help you learn the material. You can even reach out to your professor if you feel you’re struggling with a subject and ask for advice on improving. Don’t be afraid to be honest with your professors, they understand most hardships students suffer throughout a college experience. Most professors become teachers because they want to help. 

There are also mental health and counseling services available to students. These services can help you deal with stress and develop stronger coping mechanisms. College is a high-stress period of life, which is why universities provide these resources. Take advantage of as many as you can. 

4. Get Organized

When it feels like there’s too much on your plate and you can’t possibly manage it all, it’s time to become a pro at organization. It’s easier to manage all your responsibilities when you’ve written them down and created an action plan. Get an organizer or calendar to help prioritize and schedule events, homework, or important moments throughout the week. 

When you write everything down and create a timeline for accomplishing each task, you might see you have more time than you realized. You’ll likely be able to include some free time in your schedule, but first, you have to have it all written down. 

5. Improve Time Efficiency

One of the biggest things that cause students to feel overwhelmed and lose motivation is a lack of time. Many students don’t realize they would have more time if they got rid of any unnecessary distractions. 

It’s all-too-common for students to waste time in the morning and before bed scrolling through their phones. This time would be better spent getting in a workout or scheduling out the day. To help yourself avoid distractions, turn your phone off at least an hour before bed and during study sessions. Don’t turn it on again in the morning until you’re up and ready for the day. 

Another trick for improving time efficiency is to watch or listen to lectures, readings, or notes for an upcoming test while at the gym. You’ll be able to get your workout in, while also increasing your chances of acing your upcoming quizzes and assignments. It’s important to maintain your health while in school, so it’s nice to be able to fit workouts into your study time. 

6. Keep The Big Picture In Mind

When you’re feeling like college is too much to handle, remember why you’re doing it. Think about your career goals and the life you want to have. Even though the finish line might seem far away, every assignment you turn in, and every test you study for, brings you one step closer to graduation and your dream career. Be sure to celebrate every small accomplishment because they are all important in taking you closer to your goals. 

If you’re feeling uncertain about your dream career and unsure about the path you’re on, this could easily lead to burnout. Take some time to discuss your path with an academic or career counselor to make sure you’re heading in a direction you’re excited about. When you finally graduate, you’ll look back on all the hard work you did throughout the years and feel proud of yourself.

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