Note to Self: March On


Jenny Seo

With the start of March, it oddly feels as though everything has come to a slow and gradual halt; it seems like some students have turned their mental switch off. As the coronavirus keeps all of us burrowed in our houses and apartments, away from school,  extracurriculars, and an active social life, most of us students are feeling a bit sluggish. The virtual classes we participate in daily are often less strictly enforced than “real” school, causing among students a mindset that undermines the importance of these classes. Stuck at home all day, some students may be inclined to make a habit of dismissing the significance of academics and the course of life as a whole, causing them to suffer from a lack of motivation and procrastinating as a consequence.

Psychologically, it has been proven by many studies that we procrastinate due to demotivating factors, such as anxiety or being afraid of failure. We, students, who attend an academically-oriented and college-driven school like SIS, are often pushed to pursue perfectionism. Often times, this fear of not being able to achieve the highest standard holds many procrastinators back, giving them an excuse not to get motivated and start something. There are also hindering factors such as mental exhaustion, which many of us are currently experiencing around this time of year, especially with the virtual learning circumstances taken into consideration. Thus, when these factors altogether amount to something greater than one’s level of motivation, they begin to push things back. Of course, this makes sense as something we all do as symptoms of being a high schooler. However, we must learn to overcome these challenges and seek ways to be motivated, despite the daily obstacles in our way.

With the overflow of social and academic challenges, high school is bound to be stressful for us teenagers. The amount of homework required for AP courses, extracurricular activities, clubs, sports, and more are merely on the surface of what high school students are expected to manage. These experiences could possibly be the cause of students slacking off starting just a bit past the midpoint of the second semester. In fact, every grade level encounters such demotivation, starting with Freshmanitis, progressing to the famous Sophomore Slump, moving onto Junioritis, and finally, landing on Senioritis. It is interesting to note how these terms are commonly used by people in order to describe a specific period during the school year that represents the most difficult times of a student.

On a side note, however, here are some solutions that could hearten those of you going through one of the phases above. The first piece of advice to gain motivation is to let go of being a perfectionist for a moment. Move away from stressful conditions you constantly have on your mind and take baby steps, focusing on doing one thing until you, yourself, are satisfied instead of trying to do multiple things at once in a limited amount of time. While you are taking baby steps, a great tip to get started on a task you have been procrastinating on is to start by working for five minutes at first. Sometimes, that little push is enough to keep you productive and motivated until you finish. However, if you feel as though an episode or two of your favorite Netflix show will help you reset your mind, then it is completely fine to take some time off of schoolwork when you need to as well. It is necessary to tell yourself to do what helps you refresh your mind most effectively and start with new approaches. Despite how tiresome it can be at times, planning out your day according to your tasks beforehand is a great way to become motivated again. 

It is not only academic motivation that you should gain, though. Since many of us feel sluggish around this time of year, especially as we are stuck home, we should not only be motivated to be on top of everything academically but also be motivated to improve ourselves as a whole. That means we should not fail to take care of ourselves even amidst the overburden and consequent sluggishness of this time. Doing a small workout, keeping in touch with friends, or going out for a family dinner is not such a bad idea when we feel this way.

While we may feel like we are crawling along at a slow pace temporarily, the first step is all you need to propel yourself forward and gain motivation for whatever it is that you are pursuing. Whether it is about schoolwork or a simple hobby, being motivated is one of the key aspects of leading a more fulfilling life. So as you slowly begin to make your way toward your goal, refrain from the vicious cycle of procrastination, and try to get re-inspired. You simply need to remember: no matter how troublesome something may be, march on.