Staying Motivated at Home
The best part about academic life at a college is that, at the end of the day, you're going somewhere to go to school. Being on campus makes it really easy to get into the mentality necessary to study, get work done, and make the most of the academic resources provided by a place like Dartmouth — not to mention the availability of tutors, office hours, and a beautiful library with the best coffee for afternoon study sessions. The mentality comes easy with effort, but the same cannot be said about home.
For this term, the transition was difficult, in no small part because spring break and spring term bled into each other without much of a transition — no plane ride, no coach ride up to Hanover, no reunion Foco dinners, no celebratory KAF to start off the term…I'm nostalgic, can you tell? It wasn't as bad with the first few weeks, but coming up on Week 5 now at the time of my writing this post, I've gotten a bit creative with how to simulate a learning environment when the best parts of home (aka doing nothing) need to be procrastinated in favor of homework.
On campus, I wake up around 9 AM to get started, which is about the average for campus I'd say. I've never had a class start before 10 AM, which holds true for this term, but I've started waking up at 7 AM in order to get my mindset as close to focused as possible. I'm sort of simulating the conditions of high school, seeing as they're just about the closest to today. If high school me managed to wake up at 6 AM to get started, college me can try to come close.
Additionally, I've started to be quite the homemade espresso consumer. My family has always liked to brew our own espresso, so I've been trying to keep it to one cup a day. The energy rush of homemade, smooth espresso is a treat, and I love my parents for investing in a high-quality coffee machine. It's not KAF, but it's definitely far past the Keurig in terms of quality. I'm also drinking out of the mug I got for my dad for Father's Day, which explains the picture for this post.
I can't stress how helpful a good study playlist is, so if you aren't on Spotify already, I highly recommend a download to use their themed playlists. I alternate between movie soundtracks, my favorite bangers, and piano instrumentals depending on the work I'm doing, and I've found a good song can easily jumpstart my brain to get into a grind mentality fairly quickly.
It really helps to know my friends are in the same boat, and we keep a pretty active Snapchat groupchat, have Zoomed a handful of times, and actually are keeping a quarantine diary to chronicle our adventures during this time period — it's just a really long Google Slides presentation where we aim for a slide every day or so as a kind of group diary, but the shared experience fosters a spirit of perseverance for everyone. Plus, we give each other music recommendations almost on the daily, because if we're going to social distance, we're going to do it with our earbuds in.
I hope you and your loved ones are keeping safe, secure, and healthy during this time, and I hope those of you who applied to colleges in the past year have come up with the choice that's best for you. I hope to welcome some of you in the fall, so please don't hesitate to say hi if you see me! And for those of you thinking about applying in the fall, if it hasn't come through in any of my prior blog posts, choosing Dartmouth is one of the best choices I've made.