How the Grinch Stole My Motivation

6 Dec

Snowflakes falling, the smell of wood burning in the fireplace, the sigh that escapes the breath as one reflects upon the sweet silence of winter break and the temporary closure of colleges classes.

This is it. This is winter break utopia.

You endured the fall semester with the home stretch in mind. Those long-awaited finals will end quicker than you think.  You have reached the light at the end of the academic tunnel.  You’ve gone through the fire and flames of the semester—conquering the Syllabi, demolishing exams, late nights of group study sessions, early mornings printing out essays and study guides—and you are now looking at several weeks of “free time.”

But beware. This glorious moment only lasts for so long before the Grinch of Winter Break cracks its evil grin.

Here’s what happened to me one year.

I was comfortably set on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa during my first winter break of college, joyfully watching the 25 Days of Christmas marathon on ABC Family when I realized what happened. The Grinch of Winter Break stole my motivation. I realized in that moment that I had little desire to go back to school. I was totally happy with the thought of sitting in my ‘jammies watching cartoons and holiday movies forever. Okay, this is a bit of an exaggeration, but I was pretty comfy.

So, what should you do if the Grinch of Winter Break gives you an unpleasant visit while you are wearing your ‘jammies this year?

It starts with the conscious decision not to sit in front of the TV for the duration of the break. Now, let’s not be mistaken: I intend to watch the 25 Days of Christmas, catch up on all of my other TV shows, and you should too. There is absolutely nothing wrong about going H.A.M on a marathon of Breaking Bad, True Blood, or Pretty Little Liars on Netflix during the winter break.

BUT…

Go out and have fun! Spend quality time doing the things that you love with the people that you care about; do things that you haven’t done in a while, and of course, do something you’ve never done before.  Don’t let yourself get bored!

There’s nothing the Grinch of Winter Break likes more than lackadaisical Wildcats.

For instance, I intend to drive to the Grand Canyon and build a snowman on the Yaki Point overlook. Random, but worth it…

Pictures of my snowman-to-be coming soon to our Twitter page @WildcatConnect.

And, in addition to all the fun, keep in mind all of the hard work you put in this semester and don’t let that go to waste. Granted, while there are experiences you might want to forget, there are also gems of lessons learned and valuable knowledge that you’ve gained. Those classes that you took were not just for “funsies.” They represent the prerequisite knowledge you need for all of the courses ahead of you.

What can you do to stay a well-motivated Wildcat?

Stay updated on organizations in your field of interest. Let’s say that if you are a pre-business student that is interested in marketing, you’d want to pay attention to something like how businesses change their marketing strategies in response to the holiday season. Ask yourself: What do you notice? Are those strategies effective? What have you learned that helps you make sense of this topic?

Or, if you are a student in the School of Government and Public Policy (SGPP), watch the news and read up on current events!!! As a political science major, this is a rule that I LIVE BY. I have had professors who, at the beginning of each semester, will talk extensively about events that developed during the break. They expect you to know what they are talking about and might even call on you to give your opinion.

confused

We all know that feeling you get when you realize that you might just be the only person in class that has no clue what’s going on—and I try to avoid this feeling at all times!

Also, take some time to look over the assignments that you’ve turned in over the semester. I suggest that you first find that paper that you crammed a few hours before it was due-I’m sure you have one somewhere 😉 . It will definitely teach you the importance of getting things in on time. In addition to a lesson on procrastination, look at an assignment that received a high grade. Compare the two. You might be surprised by the quality of work you are capable of.

Another awesome strategy is to simply review and practice. Take time to look up practice problems from chemistry or math, keep a daily journal to record memories, but also practice your writing skills. Review important concepts you’ve learned by looking at notes that you took or re-rereading articles that were assigned during class.

None of these things take very long to do and you definitely don’t need to do them everyday. But let’s be real, Wildcats: this break is a long time to go without refreshing your memory about what you’ve learned. So do some reflection during the break and set some goals. Don’t lose the motivation to want to come back and do better. Winter break is for fun and relaxation, but don’t forget that the BEAR DOWN spirit of hard work is 24/7!

And no Grinch can compete with that BEAR DOWN power…

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-Ciara Lowe

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