I had just gotten used to living my lifelong dream as a graduate student in Manhattan: knowing when is the best time to arrive at the subway station to avoid rush hour during my daily commute, becoming a regular at my local coffee shop for the late night study sessions, and preparing for in-house clinical rotations. I finally felt certain that I was independent and knew how to navigate the streets of New York City alongside my nine-member audiology cohort, who quickly became a family. However, in the course of a few days, my world as a first-year audiology student was turned completely upside down and I found myself back in my childhood home for an undetermined amount of time. Dealing with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has been an obstacle no one expected. Adjusting to a new sense of normal while processing the grief for our pre-corona lives has taken some time and continues to be an ongoing challenge. Yet, accepting the present and evolving mindset of taking things one day at a time has helped me tremendously.
Online learning has been incorporated into our daily routine, whether that be virtual classes or clinic. At first, I was excited about the abundance of free time to work on assignments and various tasks at a slower pace without pressures of outside variables (work, commuting, etc.). However, I quickly found myself losing motivation and left schoolwork to be completed at the last minute. I lost the sense of structure in my daily life that had allowed me to stay focused. How could I regain my motivation as a student while stuck in the mindset of uncertainty? Like many questions, a quick Google search led me to really valuable resources on how to regain motivation in a time of crisis. Here is my list of some helpful tips to get back on track with your studies:
Regaining Motivation for Schoolwork:
- Get organized. Reorganize your environment to make it as “study friendly” as possible. This may mean finally cleaning your desk of memorabilia to make room for that monstrous Anatomy & Physiology textbook. In addition to a clear study space, organizing your day will help regain a sense of structure. Plan out your day to make use of your time as much as possible, whether that be with Google Calendar or purchasing a brand-new planner!
- Tell others at home it’s your study time. Communication nowadays is essential, especially when you may be sharing spaces with others in your house. Let them know when and where you need your space and/or quiet time.
- Deal with noisy environments. Sometimes we can’t tell others to be quiet if we’re in close quarters and noise is inevitable under certain situations. Creating a “study playlist” or listening to white noise may help you get in your grind!
- Turn off distractions. Notifications such as iMessage or WhatsApp can be distracting during delegated study time. Disabling notifications during time you’ve blocked off for schoolwork allows for the proper focus you may need.
- Take a break. Incorporating breaks during the day is important not only for your academic success but for your mental health. Consider taking a walk after a study-heavy morning or wind down for the night with a good book.
- Read more. Consider taking a break from your usual Netflix binge and treat your brain with a good read! Now’s the time to read that book you’ve always had on the shelf but were saving for a rainy day.
- Wake up and go to bed early. Now that you have flexibility in your schedule that you may not have had before, why not try going to bed and waking up earlier? Particularly now with the longer summer days, starting your day bright and early might help improve your mood with increased exposure to daylight! Going to bed and waking up early helps with memory retention and productivity.
- Accept the uncertainty. You don’t know what’s going to happen—that’s what makes the current crisis so unnerving. Accept that you are doing your part by utilizing your time wisely as a student and aspire to improve upon your schoolwork and audiology-related goals.
As we are all learning to go with the flow of the fluid situation that coronavirus has imposed
upon our daily lives, I hope that you can implement your own “motivation checklist” to help you stay motivated as an aspiring audiologist!
Alexis Leiderman, BS, is the current Communications Committee Chair of the national Student Academy of Audiology. She is a second-year AuD student from the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City, New York. She is interested in pediatrics and cochlear implants and is expected to begin her on-site clinical rotations in Manhattan this fall.
References and Resources:
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