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7 Tips to stay motivated at Zoom University

As we start yet another semester at Zoom University, it’s important to realize that many of us college students might not be feeling as strong going into this semester as we did at the beginning of the pandemic. When a crisis first occurs, the adrenaline kicks in and we are able to adjust well to our new situation. But now, almost a year into the pandemic, many college students are beginning to feel burnout. I don’t know about you, but I’ve gotten tired of hearing the term “unprecedented times” from all my professors, and it’s starting to become harder and harder to stay motivated. Small tasks feel like such a burden, forget about the 10-page paper at the end of the semester.

So how do we stay energized and excited to learn sitting home on our laptops? How do we continue to work and intern despite being deprived of most of our social interactions? Although I am nothing close to an expert, I’ve compiled 7 tips to help you stay productive and motivated throughout this semester in quarantine. I hope these tips will help you stay engaged in our (hopefully last) set of classes that are online.

  1. Identify your goals for the semester. In an online semester, sometimes we feel like there is no point to the classes we are taking and that we aren’t learning anything. In order to avoid this, make sure you have written down or mentally identified what you want to achieve this semester. When you have your goals in mind, you will feel much more motivated to do the tasks in order to get there. For example, if your goal is to find a research project to work on, knowing that goal, you will be more likely to go to virtual office hours and ask your professor if they know of any opportunities.

  2. Engage in community service. This tip may seem random, but it is scientifically proven that giving back to others makes a person happier and more fulfilled, and therefore more productive in their own life. When you feel like you’re making a difference, you’re more likely to feel motivated! In this pandemic, there are endless opportunities to help others that are struggling, whether they are virtual or in-person. Doing a food/clothing drive, raising money for a non-profit, and mentoring someone younger than you are some examples of ways you can give back! Even committing to one hour a week will increase your well being more than you would expect.

  3. Stay social outside of social media. Don’t get me wrong, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok have been great ways to feel connected in isolation. However, the conversations on social media are often quick and superficial, and as human beings, we also need to have more meaningful conversations with our friends and family. I’ve made it a personal goal to talk to at least one person every day outside of social media, whether that’s meeting them in a socially distant way or talking to them on Facetime. This has made me feel like I’m not stuck at home (even though I am!) because I’m talking to other people and hearing about their day. Don’t wait for your friends to reach out first, because we’re all experiencing extreme fatigue. If you reach out to someone you haven’t talked to in a while it might turn into a really meaningful connection!

  4. Engage with class material on your own. When classes were in person, our professors were able to engage us with the class material in more ways than one. Now that classes are online, it’s become much harder for them to teach us in a fun and interactive way. We have to make up for this by trying to make the learning experience more fun! If you’re taking a French class, watch your Netflix show with french subtitles. If you liked an excerpt that your professor showed in your politics class, get the book and read it on your own time. If you want to know more about a certain topic in your biology class, read the newest research on it. If you’re in an art class, go to your local art gallery and just check it out! The examples go on and on, but it’s important that we stay connected to the material so that we can use the knowledge we’ve gained even after we graduate.

  5. Stay physically active. Not everyone is cut out to run a 10k every day (myself included!), but staying at home means that we are moving around a lot less than we were pre-pandemic. It’s important to move around every single day and get our heart rate up because science shows that it makes us happier and more energized. Physical activity means something different for everyone: whether it’s yoga, going for a walk, playing basketball, or just lifting some weights while we’re in a lecture, it makes a huge difference!

  6. Find a hobby you enjoy doing. This is definitely cliche, but doing something that makes you happy will make you more productive in school as well. This hobby can be anything, but it has to be completely outside of your classes! Putting a little bit of time and energy into your hobby will make you feel more productive and fulfilled so don’t sleep on this tip!

  7. Eat intuitively. Being at home has made it so easy to snack all day, every day! However, eating too much can make us feel sluggish and unhappy and cause us to slack on our work. Everyone has a different preference of what/when they like to eat, but find something that works for you and stick with it! I am by no means encouraging you to diet/restrict yourself unnecessarily, however, eating with a purpose will keep you healthy and happy. If you need help with this, there are so many bloggers on Instagram/Tiktok that post healthy eating tips so that you feel good!

I hope these tips help you have a productive semester ahead, and that you feel motivated to do your work and bring home that 4.0! Don’t forget that in this pandemic it is impossible to feel motivated and happy all the time. However, it’s important to act on these tips when we are feeling down so that we can bring ourselves back up. Best wishes to all of you this semester!

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