Around this time last year, I was a second semester senior in high school, and already committed Early Decision to Hopkins. Motivation was low. AP tests loomed in the distance but didn’t seem to matter, and as all my friends began receiving their acceptance letters and finalizing their college plans, the collective morale to study hard and enjoy learning was almost nonexistent.

I wish I could say such a lack of motivation is something only confined to senior year of high school, I think we all know we are kidding ourselves in that regard. Everyone struggles with motivation every now and then, whether its struggling to study for a quickly approaching, to finish a paper, or to write a blog post. As for me, I have all of these things coming up this week, and I thought I’d share a few tips to keep you (and myself) motivated.

Take care of yourself. Sleep is important. Rarely will motivation spark when you are struggling to keep your eyes open because of a lack of sleep. There is no use wasting time when you could either be working or sleeping, and if work just isn’t happening, then sleep it is. That being said, it is important to make sure you strike a balance between everything on your plate, and make time for yourself. Whether this is simply a walk around campus, a coffee break whilst in the library, or a yoga class at the rec center, taking the time to do things you enjoy will put you in a much better mindset when it comes time to grind.

Make a plan and stick to it. Whenever I find it difficult to get my work done, I always sit down and make a plan for how I’m going to get it done. For instance, I have a Physics Midterm coming up Thursday, and I have a very difficult time understanding a lot of the concepts. Instead of allowing myself to get overwhelmed by the fact that relative motion in two dimensions just doesn’t work in my brain, I devise a plan to make myself an expert on the topic. Typically, this just means planning to spend an hour each day doing practice problems, and I know that by the time of the exam, I’ll have 5+ hours experience working with the material, and will be ready to take on whatever problem is thrown at me.

Remember your purpose. I am all for living in the moment, but when you can’t find any motivation, it doesn’t hurt to look into the future. Whether you want to be an author, doctor, engineer, entrepreneur, or anything in between, reminding yourself of your long term goals can help you get your short term goals accomplished faster.

I hope that helps you (and me) get motivated. In the meantime, I’ll be doing some physics!