Powering through another semester

Three simple tips to finding motivation 

As the calendar resets for another year and winter break comes to an end, it can be hard to return to the daily grind of school and work. The cold, dreary weather may make us want to hibernate, but it’s hard to do that when essays, reading assignments, and other responsibilities pile up. This can be even worse for upperclassmen in their last few semesters who have already gone through the motions year after year. With that in mind, how can students find motivation to press on?

One tip is to focus on the end goal. If someone signs up for college knowing how demanding it can be, it must be for a worthwhile reason. One reason might be to pursue a fulfilling career instead of a monotonous minimum-wage job. Another might be gaining valuable life experience. For example, living in a dorm builds independence, and various clubs or other outlets on campus provide opportunities for gaining skills in certain careers. A third reason might be seeing more of the world, since FPU offers many study abroad programs in various countries. So whether you came to FPU to pursue a dream career, build experience, or simply see more of the world, focusing on that reason will give you motivation to keep pushing through the tide of stress.

Another tip is to plan fun events throughout the semester. In the Bible, even God took a day of rest, so there’s no way Sunbirds should be expected to work 24/7. The mountains, the coast, or even the desert all make for potential day trips, each offering activities such as hiking, camping, or exploring. If that’s too far out of your way, movie theaters, restaurants, and shopping malls offer fun nights out right here in Fresno. Even if only once a month, going out with friends, family, and significant others can break up the monotony of the daily routine and provide much-needed rejuvenation.

Finally, another tip is to find joy in the simple moments of each day. Even on the most average day, something is bound to make you smile—a conversation with a friend, a warm cup of coffee, a funny joke. While these moments might not be particularly significant on their own, they really can add up, and carrying them with you throughout the day would be a simple way of finding motivation. On the flip side, looking for ways to provide these moments for others can also put you in higher spirits.

In addition to these tips, you might find help from other Sunbirds’ ideas. Tristan Rollin, senior English major, finds that taking breaks throughout the day helps him to stay motivated. These breaks can take the form of switching from a stressful assignment to an easier one or even setting aside time to rest from work altogether.

“I’m not throwing away hours upon hours, but just a nice short break is really good to take the pressure off,” Rollin said.

In addition to taking breaks, Rollin also finds that physical activity helps him stay on top of his homework.

“I work on my family’s dairy, so I feel like getting outside and getting exercise or getting work done [on the dairy] is another great way. Physical activity is a great activator for mental activity,” Rollin said. 

These are just a few tips to staying motivated, and even if they don’t work for you, there are plenty of other ideas out there. Keep searching for the method that works, and don’t let the stress of life prevent you from pursuing your future—getting that degree will be worth the effort.

Francesco Parisi

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