How students can stay motivated through the school year


Nikko Macaspac

Sometimes the overload of schoolwork can feel like you’re drowning. Photo by Nikko Macaspac on Unsplash.

Isabella Edghill

With fall break in the rearview mirror and Thanksgiving just out of reach, it’s easy to feel unmotivated. This is especially true when it comes to doing school work. The school weeks are long, and with no break in sight they can feel even more endless. It can be difficult to get started on projects when the workload feels never ending. 

 “I feel like being a Manual, it’s easy to struggle with that [motivation], especially with just the environment of constant work,” Phoebe Haverstick (12, YPAS) said.

For many students, procrastinating on homework until the last minute is a common occurrence. 

Procrastination is real, so I’m working on overcoming it,” Haverstick said. 

“I don’t do a lot of homework on time, like I always do it at the last minute,” Tammery Phan (10, HSU) said. 

YPAS counselor Jazzy Romans suggests overcoming procrastination by creating a reward system to incentivize yourself to get started on work. 

You can get a coffee, buy yourself ice cream, or anything else you can dream of. Just remember to make it easy and affordable.” Romans said.

Recognizing what distracts you the most is also important when overcoming procrastination. If your phone is your biggest distraction, you may need to move it away from your study area.

Another big problem for students is balancing school work on top of other extracurriculars and responsibilities. 

I’m after school until 6:00 every single day for design and production, so I just get very exhausted. So after school I don’t have a lot of motivation to do any schoolwork just ’cause I’m already so tired,” Haverstick said.

In order to overcome this motivational problem, Ms. Romans recommends giving yourself permission to take breaks. 

“Even if you aren’t caught up, give yourself permission to step back from whatever you’re working on and reset. Nothing kills motivation more than strain and exhaustion,” Romans said.

Burnout is destructive, so although it may seem counterintuitive, taking breaks can actually increase your productivity.

Staying organized is also crucial to motivation. If your brain is scattered and your priorities aren’t clear, it’s hard to stay productive. Although everyone has their own preferences, a common way to keep organized is utilizing a calendar. 

“Last year especially, ’cause I had way harder classes, I would just have to use my calendar and plan out specific times to do stuff. That way, you know, I could hold myself more accountable for it,” Haverstick said.

Ms. Romans agrees that using a calendar and a to-do list are easy ways to stay motivated. 

Invest in some fancy colored pens or markers to keep your list and calendar esthetically pleasing. People are naturally more motivated to keep up with a system that is fun,” Romans suggested.

Tammery Phan has found that setting reminder timers a few hours before something is due helps keep her on track as well, so that nothing goes forgotten. 

Even though there are many strategies to put an end to procrastination

and stay motivated, at the end of the day motivation comes from within. Convincing yourself to get started working is half the battle. Setting goals and frequently reminding yourself of them can encourage you to begin. 

“The greatest motivator is setting and focusing on your goals,” Manual counselor Ryan Hite said. 

In order to stay motivated it is important to set goals, manage your progress towards those goals and celebrate your achievement of them. For many students achieving high grades is a big motivator. 

“Just like the fear of getting a bad grade in a class is enough to push me to do stuff,” Haverstick said.

 Writing out your goals and keeping them somewhere visible is an easy way to stay motivated.

Motivation is not a diamond in the coal mine. It’s not rare or a result of luck. Rather, motivation is something we can all cultivate within ourselves.