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How To Stay Motivated As A Student During COVID-19


May 1 2020, Published 5:52 a.m. ET

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Dear college students,

I understand that there is an array of important things crossing your mind during this pandemic. The effects of being limited in regards to activity, movement, and socialization are likely taking their toll on your mental health. With assignments due, daily zoom meetings, and the uncertainty of the future, your anxiety may have gone up while your motivation may have gone down. Getting into college was a challenge of its own and making strides towards the finish line may be hard, but it will be completely worth it.


One of you

Set Up A Daily Schedule

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While I may have tasks that need my attention, this quarantine situation has taken its toll on my productivity. According to Intelligent, analyzing your current habits and learning style can help you establish an effective study plan. If you study better at night, in long blocks of time or in silence, try to adapt your study habits to those qualities to retain material easier. The article further states that you should plan how much time you will need per class and set aside time in your schedule for those specific tasks. Establishing a designated time for your work can help with maintaining accountability, while assessing your needs accordingly. Time is all we have, so use it wisely.

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Get Dressed

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I won’t lie, I have been wearing the same shirt and sweatpants for the past two weeks. I figured, if no one is going to see me, I can ensure a smooth transition from day to night by maintaining comfort. However, according to Refinery29, the way we dress has a correlation to our emotional state. The article further states, if you are wearing the same outfit from the past few days or appear disheveled, it will have an impact on how you feel about yourself. Staying in your pajamas may keep you stuck in a relaxed mindset, preventing you from managing the day. Instead, release neurotransmitters in your brain by taking a shower, getting dressed, and becoming the #quarantinebae that you are.

Establish S.M.A.R.T Goals

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Being S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) about your goals will make your success inevitable. According to Mind Tools, setting goals that motivate you and writing them down can be powerful steps toward accomplishing them. The article further states, staying on course towards completion will come with challenges but there are a few ways to combat them. For example, setting priorities will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed and direct your attention to what’s important. Also, it may be a good idea to set performance goals rather than outcome goals. If you focus your goals on performance, you are constructing them according to what you have control over.

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Remind Yourself Of Your Progress

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It is common to put tremendous amounts of pressure on ourselves, especially when it comes to our success. While continuously working without smelling the roses may seem like a humble trait, it may not be the best quality to hold. According to Berkeley, appreciation and gratitude are connected to determining overall satisfaction in life. While you may have several papers due on one day, a final exam approaching, and several zoom sessions to attend, acknowledge your progress with each task completion.

In this Harvard Business Review Piece, the day will a bring set of challenges, emotions, and even failure. Basking in your efforts to grow can brighten your mood and inspire motivation. Always remember, success is not how far you got but the distance you traveled from where you started.

To get the perspectives of my fellow peers, I asked two friends who are current college seniors how they are going about academics during this time.

“I am very disappointed that my senior year in college ended abruptly. I have worked so hard for four years and I won’t even have a graduation for my family and I to celebrate my achievement. Since I still have to finish out my college career virtually, I use my planner to map out my day to stay focused and get dressed in the morning. It may seem like a waste of time, but it completely changes your energy going into the day.”

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“I don’t think anger is the emotion that represents what I am feeling. I just wish that people in power realized that there are students who rely on housing and meal plans here and some students don’t have a home to go back to. I don’t even have reliable internet access and often struggle to do my homework. In order to spark motivation within myself, I light sage, write out my goals, and ensure that silence is around me. I need a piece of mind during this time.”

The COVID-19 pandemic is actively altering our lives by day, but it does not have to completely prevent us from accomplishing our goals. If you can, utilize this time to reflect on your journey, cultivate your vision for the future, and develop a plan to execute your dream. And, don’t forget to check out the ‘Opportunities’ section of Her Agenda to guide you in the mean time.

Her Agenda wishes to congratulate all students and graduating seniors!

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By: Desjah Altvater

Through Her Agenda, Desjah aims to interview groundbreaking women and uniquely cover the pop culture and entertainment verticals. When she isn't telling people how to pronounce her name, she can be found watching Abbott Elementary and keeping up with everything but the Kardashians.

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