Studying and Staying Motivated

One of my downfalls in the past has been staying motivated. I’m talking motivated to study, to work, to cook, to clean, to wake up early, and just being productive in general.

I’m taking only 13 credit hours: organic chemistry, organic chemistry lab, genetics, ethics online, and a seminar.

I have learned that being busy does not equate to being productive. Doing busy work is not the same as committing several minutes to work on an assignment or two. I use downtime between classes to take notes or read the chapters or work on homework assignments. My major motivator these days is the fear of falling behind. That may not be the case for everyone, and that’s understandable. You have to find something worth working towards. It doesn’t have to be dramatic or drastic. For example, find a bakery with the most amazing cupcakes. Set some goals for yourself at the beginning of every week. Buy yourself a cupcake for every week you fulfill your weekly goals.

Motivation isn’t easy. I manipulated my course schedule to only have classes on Tuesday and Thursday, with the heaviest load being on Thursday. If I stumble, my assignments could pile up. I still go into work on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I use the morning hours to sip some hot tea and read assigned chapters. At nights, I cook. It’s become an outlet for me. I put on a load of laundry meanwhile. When I can, I write for this blog, I read books, I bake bread. Multitasking is key.

I’ve managed to study every night and stay on top of things. I’m proud of myself. I can say that.

The most important thing to realize is that progress is relative. You shouldn’t compare yourself to others, only to your previous self. All you need to do is better than you did yesterday. You can do this. We’ve got this.

Considering Majors

I, like so many others that I know, have changed my major recently. I went from biomedical sciences to biology. I felt it was necessary and definitely not the end of the world. It’s a decision that is entirely up to you and your judgement, but I felt truly liberated. I went from a major that was demanding and specific to a major that was more open to interpretation and lenient.

I was super fortunate that I switched between sciences, meaning I was on track to graduate on time with either major.

It can be scary, no doubt. I’ve known people to completely switch tracks and refocus their priorities. I mean from business to biology. Changes like that do, unfortunately, mean more time in school. However, remember: time is relative. An extra year or two is nothing compared to a lifetime of happiness spent in your ideal career field.

Preparing for Spring

As a college student, my mind is constantly geared towards what I can do in order to prepare for my classes. I haven’t always done as well in my classes as I would like to, and that is hard to face. I graduated from high school as the valedictorian. I was the typical “I aced the exam and didn’t even have to study” student that annoys everyone. But if it’s any consolation, that has rocked my world. I had zero study skills in high school, and consequently, I brought exactly zero study skills with me to college. On top of that, life happens. Maybe you get a job (or in my case, two) to have spending money or pay your bills. Perhaps you get a puppy that needs attention, grooming appointments, vet appointments, and plenty of playtime. Then maybe you have a roommate you can’t agree with.

My point is that a lot can go wrong and I’ve learned the hard way. If you’re curious, I’m double majoring in biology and philosophy. Here are just a few things that I personally do that could potentially help you.

Give Yourself a Break

When registering for classes, it’s important to keep in mind that you need to eat and take breaks. Leave time to rest between classes. It is also important not to overload your schedule. It’s tempting to take a seventeen hours at once and graduate early, but it just isn’t feasible. I took seventeen hours the first semester of my freshman year. More classes means more assignments, exams, midterms, and finals. Come finals week, I was so exhausted that I could not manage to study for my very last final. Things turned out okay, but only because the professor decided to scale the grades.

Something critical to note is that a 3 credit course doesn’t evenly translate into a 3-hour class. The lecture might be three hours out of your week, but that does not include the time you’ll need to devote to studying, homework, assignments, or getting tutored.

See a Tutor

Tutors exist for a reason. They are so unbelievably helpful. Tutors are excellent at presenting the information to your from a student’s perspective. I would highly recommend that everyone see a tutor, even if only to reiterate the information learned in lecture.

Get a Planner

I know, I know. This one is listed in almost every article/blog post about being a better student and that is because it is essential. I started with an online planner. It was easy to put my entire class schedule into that calendar. I could block out any time I might need for a meeting or lunch or an appointment. It was also easy to keep up with in that I could pull it up on my phone.

I have recently switched over to planner from Plum Paper. If you haven’t heard of them, I highly recommend ordering from this company. Everything about your planner can be customized, something I thoroughly enjoyed. Personally, I added boxes where I can note whether there’s an assignment or exam that day. It also helps me track my studying habits. They offer a student bundle that comes with a notebook, a notepad, and stickers for your planner.

My gorgeous custom planner from Plum Paper

My First Blog Post

It would only be appropriate to begin this adventure with an introduction. I’ll make it brief. My name is Morgan and I’m twenty years old. I’m a full-time student with a part-time job, a long-term boyfriend, and a puppy. My boyfriend is Jake. We have been dating since eighth grade, which has been five (almost six) great years. My puppy’s name is Casanova. He is a seven-month-old Malshipoo bundle of love and affection. More on me later.

My intention with this blog is to hold myself accountable. Being a full-time student, it is more than easy enough to become overwhelmed with stress and anxiety. It’s a never ending pit of, “Am I doing enough?” My overall goal for this year (my resolution, if you will) is to become a better person. I want to exercise more, bake more, study more, and make grades that are worthy of my ideal graduate program. My blog won’t necessarily have a purpose for now (i.e. I haven’t found a “niche” that I prefer over other topics). It will more likely act as my very own online journal. My hope is that the online aspect will motivate me to post more often. Full disclosure: I have absolutely no experience in blogging (or being entertaining). I intend to discover myself and my interests. Right now, I can say there will be posts about baking, my pup, school, stress, and everything entailed therein. I’m already taking steps to improve my lifestyle. I’ve purchased a totally customized student planner for myself (I’m absolutely ecstatic over it)!!

If any of that sounds interesting to you or relatable or you’d simply like to laugh alongside me at my attempts to blog, welcome to my life!