Like everyone else, I was so excited to finally come back to college. I missed the atmosphere of sweet Starkville, Mississippi and all the culture it possesses. I missed my out of state friends that I wasn't able to see for 150 days. I missed walking on the Drill Field, hearing the Chapel bells ring, and simply just being two hours away from my hometown.
Coming back to college was probably the most excited that I have been since March, before Corona started. I was finally out of the dorms, and living in an apartment with three of my best friends. I finally got to return to some of my favorite parts of Starkville, and reunite with the people that make this town all that it is to me. Those few days of being back with no classes were so sweet. But as we all know a little too well, all good things must come to an end.
Starting classes again this semester felt weird. Unlike most of my friends, all of my classes are online with the exception of one microbiology lab that meets once a week for two hours. Unless I am getting groceries or grabbing a to-go lunch or dinner from my sorority house, I am usually in my apartment, which honestly feels kind of lonely after being there so much. I am also a person who loves to meet new people, and this whole online class thing has really put a damper on that.
Aside from all the logistics of starting classes again, I am finding myself to be unmotivated after only one week, which is genuinely terrifying. Like many others, I typically get unmotivated at points in the semester and power through, but I never start off the semester feeling like this. I am usually super organized, and get a little ahead on all my assignments so I am not as stressed in the coming weeks. But this semester has been completely different.
I bought my planner late, so I was already late to the game on planning out my life for the next few weeks. I started procrastinating, and saved all my assignments for the weekend, instead of being responsible and doing them within a day or two of them being assigned. My attitude about online school was that it would be super easy, and considered it to be something that would not consume as much of my time as it would have if I had in person classes instead.
I am still struggling with staying motivated and on top of my schoolwork, but I've started some new routines and habits that I think have been very beneficial. I started making to-do lists each night before I go to bed, so I can have a plan for the next day when I wake up. I include school things, such as classes I have and assignments that are due, as well as miscellaneous things too, such as cleaning my bathroom and calling my mom. I carve out a couple hours at a time to sit down at my desk and really get things done without any distractions.
I have started to eat lunch before or after my classes instead of during, because it typically ends up distracting me if I try to eat and watch a livestream lecture at the same time. I try not to have my phone on my desk when I'm working on an assignment, as the notifications from Snapchat and Tiktok really take away my focus. I have also been trying my best to have everything I need to get done completed by 5 or 6 PM, so I have my nights to unwind, and relax with my roommates!
Struggling with staying on top of school is super common, and is something I have dealt with for as long as I can remember. It can be hard trying to find a balance between everything you have going on in your life, but all it takes is some planning! I hope my newfound tips and habits can be useful to you, whether you're about to start school, or if you're already weeks into it! Staying motivated is SO important, and if you really make an effort to do so, you will truly be so glad you did!