Peer Adviser Post: Motivation

Motivation, or Why Should I Still Complete My Readings and Problems Sets, Attend Events, etc.
By Benjamin Frieling SEAS ‘14



Yes, it has been a rather lengthy run of the fall semester from nearly two months ago until fall break. Yes, you have been and probably are still taking on several mid-terms/papers/projects over the past two and upcoming two weeks. Yes, you are likely feeling more than a bit tired and fed up.

First of all, know that you are not alone (although you likely know this already since our 2nd most popular school sport behind football is complaining and stressing out). We’re all going through this and we all can get through it.

Next, take a breather – especially if you are completely crunched for time. Odds are that if you are constantly in the mindset that you have no time to spare, then you are trying to work as much as possible and thereby inadvertently procrastinating more than you are gaining by not taking breaks. A solution I found is an egg timer. It can be used to time either or both study and break sessions, depending on productivity levels.

On a global level, even as the winter season rolls in, here are a bunch of tips/suggestions to renew that long-lost motivation from those first days of NSOP, both now over fall break and during the weeks to come:

Daily:

  • Have at least one meal in the dining hall or at an apartment with a friend, for a time-efficient way to eat and be social !
  • Take a walk outside for ten minutes – it’s quite refreshing physically and emotionally !
  • No matter what, set aside ten minutes to read a humorous webcomic, blog, book, etc. Laughter truly is a wonderful medicine.

Weekly:

  • Drop in one random event, screening, or speaker (i.e. BWOG’s bucket list, fliers all over campus, that weekly event that your suitemate keeps bugging you about). Even if you bring some notes or a laptop to work out during it, it’ll be something fun and/or educational, and most of all – a random factor to change things up !
  • Commit to being totally prepared for one class, doing all the readings and paying full attention throughout lecture – it will require time and effort, but it’ll pay off !

Bi-weekly/monthly:

  • Do/see something cool in the city, whether it’s a park, a play, or a party !
  • Take a few minutes to contemplate how far you’ve gotten so far (all the way from elementary school to here), where you are going, and reassure yourself that you can do it !

Overall, remember that you “only” have four years here – so live it up !

Disclaimer: Having just completed my 8-hour engineering licensing exam this past Sunday and another 2 midterms in the past two days plus graduating in December, I am fully pursuing these tips to keep myself motivated. This is just one person’s tactics – feel free to adapt and borrow from your friends as well !

If you have questions or comments please email your Peer Advisers at: csapeeradvising@columbia.edu


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