Keeping yourself motivated is one of the most important things for any college student. High school wasn’t quite as hard because you had someone there making you go to class every day or at least some type of punishment from the school if you missed too many days, but with college you don’t absolutely ‘have’ to go. You can miss everyday of class The only thing making you get up and go in the morning is your own self-motivation. Listed below are five things I keep in mind to help motivated myself daily.
1. Keep a planner
Staying organized is key to staying motivated. My favorite way to do so is to find a planner and keep track of everything I need to do. Online businesses create planners personalized to your liking, they can be expensive if you get too picky, but it is something you only have to buy once a year. Though, if you are like many college students, looking to save money anywhere and everywhere, there are many cheap options.
If you can’t find what you want in your budget you can even create your own design on your computer and print them off. I did this myself for a monthly planner. I wanted something I could put in my binder with everything else and access easily. I made a calendar layout with each month taking up a whole page so that the day boxes weren’t too small to write in. Then I typed permanent dates like major holidays, birthdays, and my university’s calendar dates into the boxes. I printed off my finished designs, slipped each page into sheet protectors, and clipped them into the front of my binder.
2. Keep an eye on the big picture
When you wake up for that early morning class you may think to yourself, “Why”, well next time really think about that question. Why? Why are you in college? Why are you taking that class? Why is it important for you to go? When you look past the grogginess in your eyes and really think about it, you will most likely find many reasons such as: to make something of yourself, to put your passion to work, or to have a successful future.
Just think years from now you won’t remember how rested you felt, you will remember the things you got up and did.
3. Find something fun to do in your down time
In college you can find yourself stuck in a loop hole of wake up, get dressed, go to class, eat, and sleep. You are here to learn, but you can’t let yourself feel trapped either. Find something to do in your down time that you really like. It doesn’t have to be something that takes up too much time, but you need something to do out of pure enjoyment - a time that is entirely yours, things I do are painting, drawing, hanging out with people, or even just watching videos on YouTube.
4. Don’t push your limits
This statement can be taken the wrong way. Yes, push your boundaries. Get out there and do new things, but learn where your line is that shouldn’t be crossed. I’m not speaking of a moral line, but of course that is good to have too.
What I’m talking about is how many commitments you should make, or how much time to give to other people and ‘extra’ things. I take 15 hours of classes, which is a normal amount, but I also have a work study job that is 12 hours, I’m a reporter for our campus newspaper, I’m a yearbook staff member, and I’m also a contributing editor for Odyssey. Since I have all of these things going on, I have to be very strategic about how I spend any extra time I have.
I am very lucky that my work-study job allows me to do all of my homework and studying on the clock, so I get about 12 hours of studying and homework time a week. On Wednesdays and Friday afternoons I don’t have much to do so I know those are the days I can take personal time for myself and things I really want to do. I go to my fiancé’s parents’ house on the weekends or my parents’ house, so that is when I get the most sleep. I would go insane if I stayed in my dorm all weekend because I don’t have a car yet and I get this weird stuck feeling, especially since hardly anyone stays on campus on the weekends at my university.
The point is to really get your priorities straight, know what you have to do and what isn’t really mandatory.
5. Create a comfortable space
This is so important. Your dorm is somewhere you are going to spend a lot of time sleeping, studying, and just hanging out in. It needs to be somewhere you enjoy being. I’m not saying to go drop a $1,000 on your dorm decorations, but there are certain things you will want to invest in like a good mattress topper. My university gives us these beds that are made out of some type of plastic, I am thankful because it’s much more hygienic than a regular mattress, but it is extremely uncomfortable. It may be a bit expensive but a mattress topper is something you can use one year to the next. Other things you may really want to invest in are, a nice comforter, a lamp (dorm lighting can be bad), one good pillow (you can buy cheap decorative pillows if needed, but it helps to have at least one good pillow for sleeping), and it really makes life so much easier to invest in your own laptop so you can do your work in the comfortable space you have created without needing to run to the library every time you need to type something.