I have discussed motivation, and lack of it, with countless people. It is something I have struggled with for a long time, though mostly in the form of procrastination. This is not unique to me in the slightest. Especially as a college student, the main cause of stress and the majority of our time can be connected back to the pile of assignments for our classes.
Even outside of the school context, when you work somewhere or at something for a long time without much change, you can start to feel defeated. This doesn't mean you give up, but it also doesn't mean that you're happy in your situation.
But, as simple as this may sound, you can do it.
Perhaps you've heard of a little thing called "senioritis." It's a lovely combination of defeat, anticipation, complete loss of motivation, restlessness, and many other charming descriptors. Sure, the same comes from the idea of a senior almost that the end of their academic career; ready to take on the next stage in life. But, it is now boiled down to the dreaded feeling that you can't take one more moment of said reality.
If we're being honest, senioritis is really just a term we use to lessen the importance of mental health. It's easy to say you're suffering from senioritis than to acknowledge that there may be deeper issues at play. But, that doesn't mean that senioritis is the end-all-be-all for you.
As a current college senior, I do feel some of the symptoms of senioritis. I am fed up with the same routine of classes and piles upon piles of work, some of which I am told I need to do even though it does not actually interest me. I switch often between the mentality that I just need to get through the year and the occasions when I want to lay down and let myself be consumed by the anxiety.
Let's just put this out there: College is hard.
Haha, yeah, understatement of the year right there, but it needs to be said. I'm starting to believe that simply saying or writing down your thoughts and beliefs can help you process them. It's a simple form of validation that should be encouraged.
The feeling that you should be constantly doing something, or that you're wasting time, is always there. The realization that you have a big project, a paper, an upcoming deadline, and more still is a common and continuous sensation. It's like you never feel completely prepared; like you're always one step behind.
Senioritis is not just some excuse. We're not just crying wolf here. It is a mentality that takes hold of your life when it's as complicated and busy as ever.
It's important that this is acknowledged. That this is heard. Because by doing that, we can understand how to move forward.
I don't have all the answers, but I have my experience.
I have the times when I turned in assignments in minutes before they were due….and I've had times when I turned them in minutes overdue. I know the feeling of looking forward to college and a new stage in life, only to end up looking back in the context of classes, papers, and semesters to go.
Feeling overwhelmed is common and universal. But, it comes in waves. Some big, some small, and even some that make you feel like you won't reach the surface again. But you will.
You just have to keep kicking and fighting. On a lighter, but still quite relevant note, "just keep swimming."
It will take some buckling down of sorts to push through this period, I'm not going to lie. I've come to accept that life gets worse before it gets better. It sucks, but more often than not, it's true. This is where perspective really comes into play. You have to work on shifting your own mindset.
While you might not be able to shake off the countdown in your head, or the dread of your situation, try to find a brighter side. This can mean looking at assignments as opportunities to read new information, and if it isn't in a subject you love, to appreciate gathering a wider spread of knowledge anyway. If you need to plan out a new thesis, topic, or project, see that as a chance to change up what you normally do, to push your limits and your norms.
I have been surprising myself in how helpful this has been. No, I'm not great at keeping it up, but habits take a while to develop, right? But, when I need to do an assigned reading or find sources for a paper, I can find myself genuinely interested in them, as long as I devote my time.
It won't work one-and-done. It takes dedication and determination, which are more concrete and reliable than motivation. I once had a conversation where a professor told me not to work or act based solely on motivation and/or inspiration because those often fade. I mean, look at the resolutions of new years' past…
But, dedication is different. It's a promise to yourself, something that requires continued effort. But, it results in accomplishments that are more concrete. Kind of like that diploma you're going to get when it's all over.