Top 10 ways to motivate yourself for a new semester

Here we go again

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Whether finals were a total success or more of a “well I guess that just happened” kind of experience, spring semester is a new start.

Isabel Salken | Cavalier Daily

1. Don’t dwell on the negative

Is it just me or is there a mid-academic year slump going on right now? Though winter break was about as relaxing as anyone could’ve hoped, I find myself still not willing to get back into the grind of classes and studying. One more episode of “Gossip Girl” instead of starting on readings? Absolutely. Just because finals are the last thing we remember of fall semester before fleeing back home for recovery — or perhaps more accurately stated, hibernation — doesn’t mean that spring semester will be a reflection of that. Whether finals were a total success or more of a “well I guess that just happened” kind of experience, spring semester is a new start. Time to focus on the good things that could happen instead of dreading the bad … but maybe one more episode first.     

2. Don’t repeat last semester

Speaking of a fresh start, leave the successes and failures of last semester in the past. Each semester is a chance to be better than you were before. Embrace the newness and ask yourself what you would change if you could and then realize that you probably can change it. Totally your call, but remember you have a lot of people rooting for you, so why not give it a shot?

3. Take classes that excite you

I would like it on record that I love science. I really do. But after an entire semester of all science and math, I couldn’t be more ready for some humanities classes. Taking classes just for fun is a hallmark of a good liberal arts education. Any classes that encourage new ways of thinking and your growth as a student is not a waste of time. So, get excited for that random class you signed up for just because you wanted to.

4. Start something new

To everyone’s surprise, I started cooking. For someone who is a die-hard fan of snacking throughout the day and then feasting on Chick-fil-A at night, cooking is a whole new experience. I only know how to make three things, but when one of those things is waffles, who needs anything else? I’ve also been grocery shopping. I know — I sound like a well-adjusted adult. Who would’ve thought? Of course, grocery shopping may not be the pinnacle of success for everyone, so find something that makes you feel a little bit more capable and go for it.

5. Rededicate yourself to old goals

I know we’re all always thinking of the next thing we should do or the next step towards our goal, but make sure to acknowledge how much you’re already doing. Chances are it’s above and beyond what you ever even dreamed for yourself. Recognize how much you’re doing — all those credit hours, clubs and responsibilities — and continue to be amazing at it.

6. Celebrate the big and little victories 

My friend recently got an internship in Belgium for the summer — I know, aren’t you so impressed? Bonus points if you can guess what I made her in celebration. Whether it’s getting a job you really wanted, getting the good grades you worked so hard for, going to the yoga class you told yourself you’d go to or simply making an interesting point in discussion, you’re very much deserving of a little, or a lot of, celebration. Looks to me like everyone is winning in 2019 — finally, right?

7. Look for inspiration

Does anyone follow Jonathon Van Ness on Instagram? As far as I’m concerned everyone should follow him. Watching his complete enthusiasm for just about everything on “Queer Eye” is the motivational boost everyone needs in their lives. His one-liners alone are worth the watch. Not to mention watching him fulfill his lifelong dream of being a figure skater is the most purely inspirational thing I’ve seen possibly ever. If you find your inspiration elsewhere, I totally support you. Books — Lin Manuel Miranda’s book of pep talks anyone? — cheesy Pinterest quotes and YouTube videos are also an excellent source of positivity. If you’re finding it difficult to think positively for yourself at any time, the internet is really here to support you.    

8. Embrace the caffeine craze

I embraced this one a while ago, but in case you’re looking for that little extra boost, I’m here to tell you that there’s nothing wrong with a little liquid support. If I didn’t have my daily — or if I’m being honest, twice daily — caffeine boost who even knows how I would stay awake in class. Even my love of learning has its limits, and that limit is apparently one hour into a 75-minute lecture.

9. Listen to music that makes you want to dance in place

My friend and I each have playlists on Spotify that we listen to when we need to really get through some work. If you pass us in Starbucks or a library, you might see two girls vigorously typing on their computers and bouncing up in down in their chairs. Do we look crazy? Possibly. Do we care? Absolutely not.

10. Remind yourself of how lucky you are

I would say that we’re all pretty lucky for getting to study at the University. This past weekend I went to a talk with Leslie Odom Jr. led by President Jim Ryan, and all I can say is I don’t think I’ve ever been in the same room as so much talent, dedication and hope — kind of intimidating but mostly just awe-inspiring. To be surrounded by great people is to have something to aspire to. So, when you’re hustling to class, remember to look up and realize where we are and what we’re doing. Cool, right? Now get that nose back in the books.  

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