8 ideas for staying motivated this semester

What will help you stay motivated this semester?

Whether you’re a returning student or stepping onto campus for the first time, you’re going to experience days, maybe weeks, where your motivation dips. Here are some strategies for fighting the lack of motivation that inevitably creeps in as the semester rolls on.

Minimize distractions. Some distractions are external. Loud study areas (ask for quiet or find another place to study), traffic and bus routes (allow time to get to and from campus). We create other distractions ourselves. Who wouldn’t want to watch the latest episode of “Orange is the New Black” rather than study for an exam? Hit the books for two hours and catch your show during a study break.

Get organized. Establish a study area in your home that is off limits to other family members. Keep a calendar of important deadlines readily visible. Find your own form of organization. What works for some doesn’t work for all. Time management is essential. If you’re having difficulties with organization, a personal counselor can suggest some strategies.

Study what you enjoy. When you’re interested in the class material, studying comes easier. Job security and salary are important, but don’t lose focus of likes and dislikes when it comes to careers and majors. If you’re unsure which program you want to pursue, meet with a career counselor to discuss career and academic options.

Find a support network. Study groups in class. Student clubs and organizations. Friends and family who are positive influences. Supportive people can be found in many places. Seek them out when things get stressful.

Know your limits. You can’t study every minute that you aren’t sleeping. Working a full-time job and while going to school full-time yields bad results. Having limitations doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It means you’re human.

Create mini-goals. Your goal is to earn an A in the class at semester’s end. Establish smaller goals along the way to reach that larger one. Set a goal to study a certain number of hours per week. When you reach this goal, give yourself a mini-reward. Keep goals realistic so they are within reach.

Turn off your cell phone alerts. Your friends and family will survive if they can’t reach you immediately. Nothing is more distracting when trying to accomplish a task than a cell phone alerting you to an incoming call, text or email. Put your phone to vibrate (or better yet shut it off) when you’re studying. Additionally, shut it off during class or meetings with advisors, counselors or professors.

Take a break from social media. Facebook, Instagram and the like are fun and useful. But they’re also time suckers. Make a conscious effort to disengage from social media during study time.