Ask Emma: I lost all my motivation

Post-break motivation is like inertia; get into the headspace for school



As students log into Zoom again this week for classes, Emma sheds light on how to maintain momentum to finish out the semester.

EMMA LEDBETTER, Evergreen editor-in-chief

Dear Emma,

I had a really relaxing Thanksgiving break, but now I don’t have the motivation to do my classwork. I lost all the momentum I had going into the break, so now I’m worried about finishing the semester strong. We only have this week, dead week and finals week. Do you have any tips to make it through these three weeks?

Thank you,

Dear Relaxed,

Feeling unmotivated after a break is something we all experience, and it’s really good that you recognize you have this problem. You’ll need to get in the right headspace to finish out these last three weeks.

Now, I know you didn’t ask for a physics lesson when you wrote this letter, but physics gives us a great analogy for your problem: inertia. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion, while objects at rest tend to stay at rest.

I bet you had trouble winding down for break because you were on a roll with schoolwork. Personally, I had to force myself to stop checking emails and go read a book or watch a movie instead. Force, by the way, is how you overcome inertia.

Consider all the steps you took at the beginning of break to bring yourself to rest, and now do the opposite. If you turned your alarm off, set it. If you stopped checking Blackboard, check it. If you started reading a good book, put it away for a while.

All these little steps will help you get in the headspace for being back in class. Sure, they may not work at first, but what you’re doing is slowly building up momentum to get back to the place you were originally at.

The one thing I don’t recommend doing: putting off your schoolwork until you’re so stressed about it that you have to kick into Super Procrastination Mode. It’s easy to coast into the last three weeks of the semester and not worry about school until your assignments smack you in the face, but that’s painful and easily avoidable.

If you have trouble motivating yourself, ask a family member or friend to help you out. They can give you subtle reminders to get working (until you feel so guilty about sitting on your behind all break that you are forced to do something productive).

Basically, you’re going to have to work to feel motivated. Identify what steps you need to take to make you feel in the school mood and do those consistently. Ask for help if you need it and avoid procrastinating (if you can).

I hope these tips help!


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