College is that time between adulthood and adolescence when your idealism is at its peak and you’re still relatively un-jaded about the realities of life. But even in college, burnouts due to stress could happen.
When the novelty of being a freshman wears off and you’ve developed a daily routine, the days leading to summer break, and your whole future in general, may feel like a distant dream. It’s not helping that you’re terribly homesick and the assignments are piling up like the dust under your bed.
Here are some tips on how to keep yourself motivated and avoid college burnout.
1. Keep a Journal
A journal, or a “man-journal” if you would, is good for keeping track of experiences and insights. For your own protection, don’t write anything negative or anything that would make you angry when you re-read your entries. This journal is for inspiration, so don’t treat it like a diary of miffed thoughts. Filling the journal with negative entries defeats the purpose of your inspirational journal and it could get you in trouble with your roommates or friends if they’re curious enough to read through it, and they probably would if they had the chance.
Keep the entries positive, focusing on insights and learning experiences that would sustain your spirit when your mood is shot and nothing’s going your way. You can put quotes that apply to a specific scenario that happened during the day. Simple triumphs and any positive thing that happened should also be documented. Doing this would train you to feel excited about the coming days, i.e. you’d be wondering what you would learn tomorrow. This habit will also help you become more insightful about people, situations and how you react to these things.
2. Write a Thank You Letter to Your High School Guidance Counselor
If you haven’t yet, send a formal thank you note to your high school GC along with a short update of how you’re doing in college. Write a recap of your experiences so far, including your first impressions of your new environment and your current status. Alternatively, you can send the letter to your coach, your favorite teacher or your coach. You only need to do this once, but the effect on your morale is priceless. You’ll be reminded that there are people outside your family rooting for you to succeed, and you’ll remember the efforts they spent on helping you reach your goals.
3. Give Yourself a Break
It doesn’t matter what grade you’re aiming for, or how much you need your current part-time job to stay in college. If you burn yourself out working yourself to the ground, you’ll lose the passion for studying and discovering. Give yourself a day or half a day to walk around, jog, listen to music or sleep in. Stepping away every once in a while keeps a person productive. Resting improves your physical health, gives you the mental clarity to tackle your obstacles and improves your mood for the rest of the week.
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