5 Ways to Stay Motivated in College

If you're anything like me, the best part of your school year is the week right before it starts. Last ditch beach trips, lots of sleep, and the best part: school supply shopping. As the first weeks of classes come and go, those $28 Lilly Pulitzer planners inevitably find their home at the bottom of tote bags, syllabuses go unnoticed until days before the first exam, and that 9:30 AM French class the well-rested summer version of you thought was a great idea becomes increasingly more annoying and less likely to be an actual thing that is going to happen. So the question is, how do we keep ourselves in that first week mindset? In order to avoid turning into one of the Workaholics boys by the end of add/drop, here are some tips and tricks I like to use.


1. Write Down Everything

In the age of Apple, it seems pretty old fashioned to use an actual planner, let alone sit down in class with a pen and paper. However, I've found that the act of writing everything down makes everything feel more legitimate. There's something very fleeting about jotting an appointment into your iPhone calendar. By taking the time the first day to transcribe the syllabus into a planner, we often will find ourselves more committed to actually remembering the assignment. (Side note: You actually have to open the planner past the first day for this to work.) I also realize at this point in my college career that I am not physically capable of focusing in class if there is a laptop in front of me. If at any point throughout my day I have the ability to be on the DIY section of Pinterest, I will be. Know your weakness. Mine is Modge Podge.

2. Make A Friend

I know it's awkward. In almost any other situation, approaching a complete stranger and asking them to be your friend is not the best way to communicate with other people. On the first day of class, though, it works. It's a very short grace period of social ineptitude we all grant one another, and you should take advantage of it as much as possible. This person will be your exam study buddy, homework reminder, and saving grace on the days you just can't make it to class. Just don't be the girl who asks for notes every day in a spam email to the whole class. Nobody likes that girl.

3. Go to Office Hours

This is a big one that everyone kind of says to do, but it's very rare to find someone who actually does it. We're college students, we're lazy, and the idea of walking all the way to the Visual Arts building after spending a day in Business Administration kind of makes us want to die. But it will be worth it when you're half a point away from an A at the end of the semester and the difference in letter grades is whether or not your professor has any idea you exist. Go in, introduce yourself. If it's a professor for your major, chances are you're going to have them again at several points in your college career. Getting to know them now may save you a lot of trouble later in your senior year when the last class you need to graduate is with them and full. Almost every professor I've ever met is actually a human being and definitely likes nice people, so put a smile on and say hello.

4. Stay Sober

This one may seem like a no-brainer, but with the number of club invites I've received in the last week it seems it may need to make an appearance. It's the first week of classes. You're not stressed out yet, you're probably broke from buying the entire Target home goods section, you definitely don't need to hit the town right away. Take a week, get adjusted, and go crazy this weekend. Or don't, because you're independent and nobody tells you what to do. Whatever. I don't know your life.

5. Explore!

This is a big one, get to know your school! Nothing fills me with more Knight pride than a long bike ride around campus. There are so many awesome activities the first week of school that we forget to do anything else. Past that first week, remind yourself how awesome your campus is by spending time on it. Hang out outside the Union and talk to the people with booths set up. Chances are eventually something super weird will happen, which you can then tweet about and make everyone super jealous that you witnessed the guy in a horse mask streak through Subway. Because this is college.