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I’m not exactly sure what the precise definition of “mojo” is, but I would describe it as that internal energy that drives us to put forth the best version of ourselves into all that we do. And now that we’ve passed the one year anniversary of the coronavirus crisis, all I’ve been able to think about is how I never thought that I would be in the position I am today. It’s hard not to feel all the disappointment of this past year come flooding back in with each Snapchat memory popping up of my friends and me celebrating our spring break being extended by a week. Little did we know we wouldn’t be returning to school, and our college freshmen experiences would be marked by seemingly endless restrictions. 

In this case, it’s easy for me to pinpoint how I lost my mojo, but it hasn’t been so easy to get it back. Nevertheless, I have made it my mission to regain some of that magic confidence that just makes me feel like I’m “in the zone” when I wake up each morning. While I know I have a long way to go in feeling like myself again (and a lot of that is contingent on the course of COVID), here are just some of the things I’ve been more intentionally incorporating into my life in the hopes of getting back into my groove.

Celebrate the small victories!

My mom has always told me that the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. When I look at my never-ending to-do list of homework, exams, meetings and projects, it’s way too easy to get overwhelmed and just close my planner. However, I’ve been trying to approach all the daunting tasks gradually, taking a little bit on at a time. COVID has added a whole new layer of stress to pre-existing college challenges, but maintaining a mindset of tackling everything little by little has allowed me to accomplish even the seemingly impossible. 

Shift your perspective!

If you’re feeling like you’re just stuck in some kind of funk and don’t really know what to do about it, the first step can be as simple as tweaking your outlook on what’s going on. Trust me, I know this is easier said than done. I’m a complainer by nature, but I’ve found that when all I do is focus on and talk about the negative aspects of my life, I’m bogged down in my own self-absorbed unhappiness. I’ve been trying to see my challenges as motivation to work hard and overcome them, instead of obstacles blocking my path. 

Ask for support!

This one has been huge for me this semester. I’ve been struggling with my coursework more than ever before, and failing an organic chemistry test I spent ages studying for wasn’t that great for maintaining my mojo. I felt defeated for a little while, but I knew that I wasn’t doing myself any favors by throwing a pity party. I decided to look at it more as a wake-up call and an opportunity to fix what clearly wasn’t working. I met with multiple professors and signed up for a group tutoring session each week so that I could be held accountable for dedicating some time to study. I took advantage of office hours and any extra resources provided, and this has helped me feel a lot more supported and confident as I prepare for my next exam. This idea extends outside of schoolwork, too. I am an independent person, but not everything in life has to be so self-reliant. Even the most successful people need to ask for assistance and remind us that we don’t have to trudge through the mud alone. 

Do what makes you feel good about yourself!

This can mean so many things just depending on who you are and what you love. In order to be the best, you have to feel your best. Plain and simple. For me, this can be as small as putting on my headphones and walking through campus with that main-character energy, or switching out of my sweatpants to feel ~somewhat~ put-together for class. Additionally, working out has been huge in clearing my mind and feeling healthy. It really was the main way I got through fall semester, and so it has been crucial for me to stay active. It’s the one hour a day where I get to focus on nothing except myself, and I’m all about that endorphin rush. So, whether it’s a hobby or a passion project, don’t underestimate the importance of taking time to do something just because it makes you feel great.

Move on! 

We all make mistakes. We all wish we could go back and do things differently. But time moves forward, and sometimes what’s done is done. What is most important is that we learn from our mistakes and stop dragging them around with us. We are always the hardest on ourselves, and while it’s good to have ambition and high expectations, we have to be kind. A lot of what we fixate on won’t actually matter in a year, or even a month. This mindset is something that I’ve been pretty consistent at practicing recently, and I can 100% attest that it has been so beneficial for my mental health and perspective on everything. Live and let go in order to find that mojo! 


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Grace Haak

Notre Dame '24

My name is Grace Haak, and I am a sophomore at Notre Dame! I'm from Phoenix, Arizona, but on campus I live in Ryan Hall. I am majoring in Neuroscience and Behavior and hopefully minoring in Compassionate Care in Medicine! I love creative writing, all things fitness, country music, anything pink and girly, and I have an unmatched passion for La Croix sparkling water.
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