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The End is Near: How to Stay Motivated at the End of a Semester

by Amanda Roach

Today is the last Friday of this semester.

It marks the end of the last full week of school.

For some of us, that’s the last full week of school…ever.

I don’t know about you, but these realizations hit me particularly hard today.  I am a graduating senior this semester, and while things haven’t exactly gone as planned for me these last couple of months, realizing that I’m almost done is about 50% relaxing.

It’s 50% other emotions too but let’s not get into those 😉

If you’re like me, you might have a rough time staying motivated right now.  The semester is closing out, we haven’t seen our beautiful campus since early March – nearly two months ago now – the weather is nice, and all I want to do it sit outside with a book ignoring my responsibilities.

Just one more week, and then that can really be a reality.

For now, though, work, school, and other responsibilities are piling up.  In the midst of the chaos, my work area has gotten pretty cluttered, so much though that I’ve actually been moving my school books and laptop outside each day instead of sitting at my desk.  The clutter is stressful.  The fresh air is wonderful.

So today, we are gonna talk about that motivation to finish this semester off as the strongest we have ever been.  I’m here to give you some hints to help you out through this last week or so of school, so stick with me and we can do this thing.  Together.

-The Two-Minute Rule

While this might sound like the five-second rule, I can guarantee you it has nothing to do with food.  The two-minute rule is the idea of, throughout your day, if you see a task that needs to be done that takes less than two minutes, go ahead and knock it out so it won’t pile up into a bigger task.  Here are some tasks that match that description:

  • Rinsing off a set of dirty dishes, instead of having to worry about a full sink load.
  • Picking up dirty laundry as soon as you get out of the shower, instead of letting it pile up in the corner of your bathroom.
  • Picking up your schoolbooks from the couch when you’re done, instead of letting your living room become overloaded with clutter.
  • Knocking out a paragraph or two from your discussion board or paper instead of waiting until 11:30 pm to get started on the paper due at midnight.

The two-minute rule can knock off a lot of stress from your day-to-day life and can help you with work, school, chores, and any other tasks that might now be your favorite things to do.

Work:Reward ratio

Set up a ratio for yourself of reward to work.  For example, for every thirty minutes you spend cramming for an exam, you can spend ten minutes playing games on your phone.  Find the ratio that works for you, as some people benefit from a longer period of work, and others benefit from short bursts.  Here are some rewards you can give yourself after doing your work:

  • Watching a video online
  • Scrolling through social media for ten minutes
  • Reading a chapter of a for-fun book
  • Going for a quick walk around the block
  • Doing a little bit of skincare self-care
  • Listening to three songs
  • Sitting in/by the pool for a few minutes
  • Insert your own ideas here!

Using a work:reward ratio can not only keep you motivated to finish your work, but it can also help break up the monotony of having to study for a big test or write a long paper.  These tasks can be difficult to do in one sitting, so break them up into manageable chunks with small rewards sprinkled in between.

Pro-tip: If you want to embrace a healthy lifestyle, don’t let junk food be a reward for you.  Eating a junky snack every hour or so can cause drowsiness and irritability in addition to making you less healthy.  Instead, if you need a snack between work sessions, consider a piece of fruit, some nuts, a glass of milk, or something else that is not a processed food.

These are two tips I have adapted during my four years of college to help me to get more stuff done in a more effective and efficient manner.  What works for me may not work for everyone, so feel free to adapt these to your own needs and figure out what works best for you.

Do you have any ideas to help stay motivated for the remainder of the semester?  Tell us your ideas down below!  And join us next week to learn about the power of positivity, healthy snacks for finals cramming,  and more!

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