Staying motivated for school during a global pandemic where there always seems to be something more important to worry about, is simply put, draining. Many of us undoubtedly felt this way when our semester dragged on in a virtual void last spring. 

And when it ended just as abruptly, it left a lot of us struggling to fill our imposed quarantine with our summer jobs and plans on hold as we were uprooted from our campuses, our friends, our adopted cities to end up in childhood rooms we hadn’t really lived in since well… childhood. 

For many undergraduate students graduating in the next months or even years, it felt like we were spending thousands of dollars to be tossed into a world that was no longer able to make room for us due to the growing financial crisis.

Photo by: Markus Winkler

That said, while most of us cannot necessarily accelerate the vaccine making process or create job opportunities (unless you’re an entrepreneur, in which case, good for you!), there are a few concrete ways for us stay motivated for the next little bit while e-learning:

  1. Set up a routine for yourself – wake up and go to sleep at a certain time, eat, and drink water regularly, make time to exercise, or to speak to your family and friends. 
  2. Set realistic short term goals that you can note in your planner or calendar. This could apply to school work, your wellbeing, and health, chores, or tasks that you have been putting off, you name it! It cannot hurt to create positive successes to look forward to when it might feel like the future you had previously imagined is until further notice, nonexistent.
  3. If you have the means, make sure you have a working computer or laptop and a stable internet connection for all of those virtual meetings, and scheduled lectures and tutorials. 
  4. Set up a group chat with peers from your program and courses, and schedule a time where you meet virtually once per week.
  5. Find a comfortable and stimulating space in your living area where you can focus, and feel you can participate during class when you want, and be adequately heard by your classmates, Teaching Assistants, and professors.  
  6. Don’t overwork yourself. Make time to self-care, and practice hobbies that increase your serotonin levels. You cannot be motivated if you’re burned out. 
  7. Go outside daily. At the very least, you will soak up some Vitamin D and maybe reconnect with nature!

Of course, we’re all in unique situations from various backgrounds in different bachelors, schools, and cities! Regardless, we all have to live with the reality of empty lecture halls, classrooms, and studios.

Photo By: Changbok Ko

If you’re struggling to maintain a positive mindset when trying to visualize your academic (master, doc, postdoc stress!) and/or professional future, give yourself a break – we’re still living through a pandemic, and as shared often throughout the last few months – surviving from day to day, especially as a hustling undergraduate student, is more than enough.