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How to Get "Going"

College burnouts are real. It can happen after grinding for a big exam, working nonstop
for a few days to get a big project done, or even just after following the same schedule for a while. You are not alone. I have felt this way before – I just couldn’t get going even though I have a busy day ahead of me. Through trial and error, I have figured out a few things that have worked for me that helped me get on with my tasks:

  1. If you feel down or unmotivated, try engaging yourself in nature. Stroll around lawn areas, parks, or your favorite spot outdoors. We are in sunny California, go be in the sun! If you can procrastinate on your phone for 30 minutes, you can get out and be with nature for 10. Nature truly has the superpower to rejuvenate us by reminding us that our moods can be like the seasons – Spring always follows Winter!
  2. If you desperately need to study but are distracted by so many other things you want to do, try the 5-minute method. Just tell yourself that you are only going to study for 5 minutes. If you get into your ‘flow’, great! If you don’t, then take a nature break (#1) and come back to try for 5 minutes again. Chances are, you are going to feel much more inclined to study for “just 5 minutes” than if you were to tell yourself you have a whole day of studying ahead of you. Once you get started and feel engaged, you will feel good about yourself being in this state, and you are more likely to keep on studying.
  3. Alternate your study locations. If you are tired of your little desk in the apartment, go to different libraries, cafes, Mathias garden, Janss steps, or the sculpture garden. Try calling up friends in the class to study together. I have learned that novelty in my life makes me curious and enthusiastic, and it applies to my study locations. It is quite extra, but I have even driven myself to the beach to study before!
  4. If you feel like you keep getting distracted and can’t stick to your study regimen, try the pomodoro method. There are plenty of pomodoro timers online for you to keep yourself in check with. When my roommate and I group study, we use this method to avoid talking to each other and only chat during the breaks. My favorites are the aesthetic YouTube pomodoro videos and the Marinara timer software that I downloaded in my Google Chrome.
  5. Last resort: If you absolutely cannot and do not want to study, but desperately need to, do some chores or get dressed up. On my bad days, I always like to start by doing laundry or finish cleaning the dirty dishes in the sink. This makes me feel like I am capable of doing something productive. You can also get ready and put on a nice outfit or wear makeup to add a level of formality to the motion of studying. Most of the time when I do this, my mind immediately goes, you look so pretty and you are now ready to conquer. The rest is history.

All of these methods follow a common principle: to make me feel good about the motion of studying. Throughout my college career, I have discovered that it is a good practice to be conscious of my thoughts and play positive mind games with myself. By making yourself feel good about studying, you are more likely to study because you feel good about yourself while doing it. It is important to remember to treat yourself nicely even under stress. Sometimes these catalysts worked for me, but sometimes they didn’t. If nothing works, don’t get frustrated with yourself – maybe it is best to just take the day completely or partially off and practice self care. To ensure that you can take care of yourself while chasing a deadline, the MOST important thing to do is to plan things ahead of time, space out the work time, and, although inevitable sometimes, try not to cram too much the day before and get good sleep.

Belle Love,
Cindy Wei


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