September is just around the corner, and we all know what that means: time to attend class, study, get good grades AND be involved on campus. Oh yeah, and I guess have a social life on the side. After a summer off, it might seem nearly impossible to stay afloat. That’s why now is more important than ever to prepare for the stressful semester ahead. Read on for some eye-opening insight on getting inspired, staying motivated and avoiding burn out.
1) Remind yourself of your long-term goals.
First ask yourself, “Why do I attend college?” And, “What do I dream of doing one day?” These are both questions you can use to gear yourself up the next time you don’t want to write that super annoying term paper, or you feel like sleeping through that pain-in-the-you-know-what 8 a.m. class. At the moment, the task at hand may not seem worth the effort. But, in the long run, you will thank yourself for putting in the time.
2) Spend time with those whose careers you wish to emulate.
No matter how busy, make time to speak with people you admire. Find out how they got to where they are today and make a plan for how you will one day reach your full potential in a similar way.
Taylor Bryant graduated in 2012 from Syracuse University where she studied magazine journalism. She says her motivation to do well in school stemmed from both the personal satisfaction of good grades and her desire to incorporate into her own style the writing styles of other accomplished writers.
“Whether they were my own classmates, actual published journalists or literary authors, I admired their way of writing, and it inspired me to do the same,” Bryant said.”
Whenever Bryant felt that she was lacking motivation, she would attend guest speaker seminars and watch TED Talks, which were great tools in turning her attitude around.
“If there was a speaker coming to talk about their career — and it related in some way to what I wanted to do, I would always go.” Bryant said. “That always served as major motivation for me.”
3) Set short-term goals.
In contrast to my first piece of advice, it’s also important to focus on a few short-term goals to help along the way. While it is important to think about your ultimate professional objective, chances are getting there will take some time. Think of smaller milestones you would like to accomplish each semester. Not only will it boost your spirits to make progress, but small-scale, college tasks will also serve as great resumé builders.
4) Appreciate the college experience.
I know, I know. What’s there to appreciate when you are given way too much work, not enough time to complete it and a load of debt to pay back once it’s all over? Trust me, I get it.
But, I have to say, there’s just something special about living in one place with all of your friends – who are just as sleep deprived as you – and having the opportunity to learn.
Even though it is easy to forget why we are in college in the first place, Alexandra Zaslow, a recent Indiana University graduate, says she especially appreciated college because of the amount of focus there is on learning.
“College is the last time in your life where you'll have a teacher imparting wisdom on you,” said Zaslow. “I tried to take it all in as much as possible-especially during my senior year.”
5) Know what you love.
The worst time to think about how to get motivated is when you are already stuck in a rut of passionless indifference—a dramatic-sounding but accurate description of those stagnant moments when it seems there is nothing to look forward to.
This is why it’s important to know ahead of time what inspires you and makes you excited about life. Maybe it’s something as simple as engaging in a favorite hobby, such as hiking, painting or photography; it could also be spending time with friends and family. Whatever it is you find enjoyable, try to recognize what makes you happy before you are feeling down.
Although college can, at times, seem more overwhelming than exciting, Zaslow suggests reminding yourself that all the hard work ultimately leads to acheiving your dreams. Once you know that, you are getting out of your own way and allowing yourself to get started.
"Don't become intimidated by the challenge ahead," Zaslow said. "Once you start it only becomes easier."