Sustaining motivation in the new year


It’s hard to feel motivated after a semester of hard work and tireless effort, and that’s what every spring semester feels like. Though winter break is a nice reprieve from back-to-back classes, hours of studying and a nonstop finals week, it’s no summer. It’s not enough time to fully rest, relax and forget about everything going on at Trinity.

But unlike summer, we come back from winter break with the sense of newness and the potential of transformation that comes with the new year. We have resolutions! We have goals for the next 12 months! We have assessed the past year and know how we want to do this one differently. For the most part.

But we also know that those aspirations kind of become inaccessible by month No. 3, and by summertime maybe you’ll have forgotten them entirely. It’s not that those goals have become less important; we just become surrounded by other needs that seem so much more immediate.

There’s the pressure of academics and jobs and a social life. Getting good grades while not overloading yourself, but doing just enough overloading to graduate (with good grades). But at the same time, a new year means a new running schedule or meditating routine or a plan to read more for yourself. By midterms, all the extra ambition that comes with New Year’s resolutions makes it hard to prioritize yourself and your future, especially when it’s much easier to marathon a TV series or scroll endlessly on your phone.

That time feels wasted and unproductive, but that shouldn’t be the case. Just because your mid-year version of rest (playing games on your phone, color-coordinating your Google calendar or any other form of slight procrastination) isn’t your ideal rest — the rest you pictured for yourself at the start of January — doesn’t mean it’s bad for you.

On page 9, our columnist Nina Loya talks about the importance of recognizing the growing pains that come with college. She emphasizes that this is a time to be kind to yourself and to recognize your personal needs. Not following through with a resolution isn’t a failure, but instead an opportunity to recognize new areas for growth. Maybe running five times a week isn’t your thing, and completing every book for that English class is just not doable.

As ambitious students surrounded by other ambitious students, it’s hard not to want to be the best. But sometimes, in a stressful environment like Trinity, your priority should be in being the best to and for yourself rather than for others.