5 Ways to be More Motivated This Semester

After a long winter break spent cozying up with your dog and watching Netflix, it can be difficult to get into the routine of going to classes, efficiently finishing your homework and balancing other activities at the same time. Here are five small, simple ways to be more motivated this semester to live up to the saying, "new year, new me!"

1. Use a planner

It might seem petty, but it helps to have a physical planner to write in. Some students tend to use their phone or simply rely on their memory to remember what they have to do for the week, whether it's schoolwork or extracurricular activities. Although this might work for some, there is no harm in using a planner — it might just help you stay on track even more. Get a nicely decorated planner, write down everything you need to do and cross it off after you're finished. There's something about crossing off a task that is strangely satisfying.

2. Change up your study habits

If your method of studying wasn't working last semester, change it up! Handwrite your notes instead of taking them on your laptop, annotate your notes instead of just reading over them, make your own study guide instead of printing a pre-made one, use Quizlet or make flashcards. There are so many ways to study that may work better for you, so why not give them a try? You might find a study method that will give you that 4.0.

3. Have accountability buddies

Whether it is studying with friends or having a group of people to regularly go to the gym together with, being with others can help you stay accountable. Accountability buddies are helpful for those who have difficulty with self control or self discipline, and having people to keep you in check can be an effective method of getting things done.

4. Do homework or study in a different spot

Many students have one — or just a few — go-to study spots. Change it up for the new semester — being in a new, different environment might help you concentrate more. Sometimes if you're in a familar location, you can get too comfortable and lose focus. This is one of the reasons why many students cannot concentrate on homework or studying in their own rooms. Try the Main Library rather than the UGL or go to a cafe, like Caffe Bene or Espresso Royale.

5. Go to office hours

Actually go to office hours. It's a small step toward doing well in your classes that may make a big difference. Even if you don't have any immediate questions, you might find some useful tips if you go. Build a good reputation with your professor as well; you never know when you'll need a recommendation letter or just a mentor you can always go to with academic questions!

All photos taken by Julie Kang