We all know that “beginning of the semester” feeling: new classes, clean slate, a fresh start. It’s both refreshing and nerve-wracking; we know that at this point in time, we are in control (for the most part) about how the semester is going to go for us. Maybe previous semesters did not go as planned and this semester is your chance to redeem yourself. Maybe your GPA has been doing well all along, and it’s your goal to keep things going strong. Whatever it is, a new semester is a new beginning. But there comes a point in the semester where we just don’t feel fresh anymore, we’ve all been there. Unfortunately, school doesn’t stop when life hits us. How do we keep from losing our motivation?
Remember your goals
When you feel yourself slipping, ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. Where do you want to be? How are you going to get there? When you feel like slacking off on an assignment, remember all the reasons you shouldn’t, remind yourself that what you put into it is what you’re going to get out of it!
2. Plan ahead (and do so now!)
When you’re still feeling this motivated, do whatever you do to get organized. During syllabus week, for example, I like to write down the dates that the bigger assignments and projects are due. It can act as a tool to mentally prepare yourself for what’s coming… and once you’re there, it’s easier to stay organized!
3. Find a rhythm
Once you’re settled into your new schedule for the semester, find an organized rhythm that works for you. Schedule designated time for homework and other important things around your class schedule, sports, clubs, etc. This will put you on a schedule that not only helps organize your day… but ensures that you’re not only making time for homework, and it’ll help keep the essentials like sleeping and eating a part of your daily life.
4. Schedule some time for yourself
I cannot stress this enough: we ALL need time for ourselves. You’re going to want a break, especially when you get to the point of the semester where it all gets to be too much. Some time away from everything can be so beneficial to your mental health, and will, therefore, set you up for a better semester.
5. Allow yourself to have fun… but not too much fun
We’re in college, of course, I’m not going to tell you not to live it up a little. But just remember that you are there for school, and to achieve the goals mentioned before. So yeah, party a little (safely), but just make sure your priorities are taken care of first. You’ll thank yourself later when you’re hungover and not writing a paper last minute.
6. Track your accomplishments
Give yourself credit! Honey, you are flourishing. But this can be so easy to forget when we’re stressed to the max. I like to keep an ongoing list of everything I’ve accomplished, big or small. It’s a great motivator when I feel like there’s no way I’m gonna do it all… it proves to me that I already have!
7. Make your mental health a priority
Balancing school and life on top of not being okay mentally, literally feels impossible. Even if you’re okay right now, prepare for the harder moments. Have a safety net. Maybe schedule therapy appointments (therapy is cool… highly suggest), or have a friend you can see, or something you can do to step away from the stress, etc. Whatever it is, set up that safety net now before you’re overwhelmed.
Happy new semester. Always remember that you aren’t shit… you are THE shit.