By Olivia Cohen
As the one-year anniversary of quarantine nears, it gets increasingly harder to stay motivated in college. Zoom classes, piles of homework, limited interaction, and stressful university emails seem to be never ending. As I take a look at my fellow students, I can tell that we have all entered the ‘quarantine slump’ and are all burnt out. But even though the pandemic seems to be dragging on forever, it’s important to stay motivated and push through. I’d like to share five ways that I have managed to keep motivation up while the world seems to be crumbling down around me.
- Stay organized with a to-do list
Keeping a to-do list is a helpful way to organize your life and stay focused on assignments. I start every week by making a to-do list in the notes app of my phone with everything I need to get done. I add assignments, classes I attend, club meetings, and other chores I need to accomplish over the whole week. Putting everything together in one place helps to keep track of assignments that don’t appear on Carmen and get a good sense of what I need to get done that week. Seeing everything laid out can be a bit intimidating at first, but it’s an amazing feeling to delete items as I complete them until the page is blank. If using your notes app is not for you, sign up for a to-do list website like Todoist or Habitica.
- Try to have some social interaction
Quarantine has driven us apart from one another, but it’s important to stay connected. Isolating yourself in your room to do assignments is more likely to send you spiraling than to increase your motivation, so it’s important to reach out to others. Try joining a club so that you can make new friends. Take your homework to the library instead of doing it at your desk. Reach out to people in your classes and get some sort of conversation going. Don’t forget to see your friends, at the very least through Zoom or outside. Trying to see others will help to increase your motivation and recognize that everyone else is going through similar struggles. The quarantine slump may seem vicious, but it’s important to know that you are not alone.
- Reward yourself, but not too much
Whether it be a completed assignment or the end of a particularly rough day, it’s important to reward yourself. Treat yourself (not all at once!) to snacks, outside activities, time with friends, short naps, or social media. But at the same time, don’t over-reward yourself. For example, I know that if I open TikTok I won’t even look at the clock for another hour, so I never reward myself with social media when I’m in the middle of assignments. It’s important to figure out what personal rewards will keep you motivated without distracting you from what you need to accomplish.
- Be kind to future you
The most helpful advice I received in my academic career is to be kind to future you. This means that you shouldn’t put things off to deal with in the future. Do the work now so that future you does not need to suffer. Take the time now to do assignments, start on projects, get a good night’s rest, or do chores so that future you does not have too much on their plate. Future you may seem like a completely different person, but that’s simply not true. When the time comes, you’ll be thankful that you took the time to get things done.
- Try to stay positive
If I’m being completely honest, college under COVID is quite a struggle. We all miss the way that college used to be. Though it may feel like we are wasting the best years of our lives, it’s important to know that this quarantine slump will not last forever. One day we will see our classmates in person, enjoy our beautiful campus, and get back into normalcy. Don’t allow yourself to lose hope. Instead, look towards the future with positivity and excitement.