As I ring in the start of exams my very first semester of college, I realize the importance of motivation and everything it carries. We carry on saying things such as, “I’ve lost all motivation for the rest of the semester,” or, “I’m dead inside; school is crushing my spirit,” with a smile that doesn’t reach our eyes and a quick chuckle as friends and classmates chime in, “YES. SAME.” But why don’t we realize how inherently wrong this is?
We stand ourselves atop a mountain of high hopes and optimism at the beginning of the semester. And then after a few short weeks of difficulty and pressure, we allow ourselves to be blown off the side of that cliff and as a feather we slowly, gracefully and unknowingly drift to the bottom of a ravine of hopelessness with no help of climbing back atop that mountain. We can’t let that happen. We don’t realize the toxicity this is allowing into our lives.
The society that we are living in perpetuates the fact that it is okay to feel down and okay to be hopeless -- and it is, but we can’t wallow. We have taken the idea of discouragement about life and made it our own personal inside joke with the rest of the struggling college community (which is everyone). I know being sad makes you feel edgy; being mad makes you feel rebellious. But you can’t allow yourself to wallow in these negative feelings just because they are a dark, mysterious faceless stranger that you’ve allowed yourself to be seduced by. These feelings are an actual poison to the mind that nobody realized has seeped in until it is too late, and suddenly you’re diagnosed with a mental illness.
While it’s so hard to fight something that seems so attractive, you have to ask yourself the question: why are you turning to these emotions? Why exactly are you losing your motivation? If it isn’t something that’s making you inherently happy, then you have the ability to change your course of action and your path of life. If it’s something that you are facing for something you’re striving for on a larger scale, then you have to find small ways to maintain your motivation.
Think about your loved ones: what would your mom think if you failed instead of succeeding like she knows you can? What would your grandfather think of the way you aren’t applying yourself? Of course, these questions can bring unnecessary anxiety (which is a whole separate battle), so if these don’t motivate there are other options.
Take a moment to think about your greater aspirations and where you will be 15 years down the road: with a successful job, a perfectly flawed spouse and a blissful happiness that allows this pain and struggle that you’re dealing with to be completely forgotten except for less than a second as you sit down beside an empty notebook.
Or possibly, sit down and meditate. Read a book, or maybe lay outside breathing in the crisp air that has finally turned frigid, and remember that you are a real, true living being -- a being with life and vitality that is more than the struggles you’re facing. And even more than that exam grade (but also make sure to study hard for those).
You can always, always find friends that remind you they care, and that you should care in return. They will uplift you with their words, but remember you can always return this favor for them when they are feeling desperate too.
Just remember to fight. Fight tooth and nail to be the best you can possibly be, and to always be happy. Fight for what matters to you, fight for what is right, and fight for the things that make you especially happy. I’ll be doing just the same as you. We can do this together.