As a senior, I look back on the last four years and I realize how much I have grown and changed. I have learned many life lessons during my time at Loras. From stepping out of my comfort zone, to managing my free time and everything in between. As I look back, I realize one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned was about motivation. I’d always believed that in order to succeed in college, I had to be motivated all the time. I thought that if I didn’t feel motivated, I was just being lazy and wasn’t trying to achieve the goals I had set for myself. That was how I pushed myself during my first two years at Loras. I regularly told myself that I need to keep my motivation high at all times in order to succeed.
At the end of sophomore year, I began to realize just how exhausted I was. I began to realize that my constant need to feel motivated was causing me more and more stress as time went on. I was worried because I had bought into the idea that if you’re not constantly pushing yourself, then you’re being lazy and might miss out on opportunities. I could see so many motivated people around me and I was afraid of falling behind my peers, so I pushed myself through the end of sophomore year with high motivation.
In the summer between sophomore and junior year, I knew something was going to need to change. I knew that running on high motivation levels was draining me and I needed to find a new balance. I decided that I was going to allow myself time to relax and recharge sometimes. So, when I came back to school, I would take time out of each day to relax. I would take a little time each day to color, listen to music, talk to friends, go on walks, anything but schoolwork. Giving myself time away from schoolwork actually gave me more motivation to get it done.
It does take a lot of self-control to allow daily breaks from schoolwork. Throughout this year, I’ve battled a fair amount of senioritis and it isn’t always easy to push myself back into schoolwork and job searching. I talked to my brother recently, and I was telling him how I was feeling particularly unmotivated that day. He told me, “Motivation is not and should not be a constant necessity, but something that comes in waves. There is no problem with having low or no motivation. That’s just allowing yourself to rest so you can best use the times when you have high motivation.”
So if you take one thing from this article, it’s don’t be afraid to let yourself feel unmotivated sometimes. Use those moments to recharge and evaluate what you need to do next so that when the motivation returns, you can make the most of it!