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Building and Maintaining Momentum

It’s nearing the end of winter quarter, and we know it can be difficult to keep your spirits and energy up as you work to fulfill on and off campus responsibilities.  We are right there with you.  Here are five tips to help keep you going:

Set achievable goals.  Rather than promising yourself that you’re going to spend 5 full hours in one sitting to work on a paper, approach time management realistically.  Try writing in 30 minute chunks.  Take a short break and pick it right back up.  This approach can be a great stress reliever, because you can make progress one step at a time.

Set boundaries.  Set healthy boundaries on campus, at work, and at home–and if you haven’t done so, now is a good time as any to practice. Take stock of what you have to get done in the next two weeks.  You can hold off on any tasks and responsibilities that can realistically wait for the next few weeks or month. Boundary setting helps you realize that you do have control over your schedule.

Meet with your support system.  Have you checked in with people who’ve got your back?  This may include faculty, graduate program advisors, loved ones, student peers, or work colleagues. More than one person in your support system is better. Check in with faculty via e-mail or in person and focus on one or two goals you have for the rest of the quarter.  Meet with a peer at the library or a coffee shop to write and go over ideas and drafts.  Connecting with loved ones and community is important and can remind you that you are more than just a graduate student.  Call, text, skype, share a meal, and/or make plans to spend time together.

Keep yourself nourished.  What keeps you going and energized?  Do you need a glass of water? How about a snack or meal?  A short nap or a good night’s sleep?  Is there a song, movie, hobby, or activity that restores your motivation?  Is there something you are looking forward to during Spring Break? Post an image or word in your work space or apartment that reminds of you of what you are looking forward to–to keep yourself moving toward that finish line. And it’s always helpful to reflect back on why you’re here in graduate school in the first place (insert personal, intellectual, and professional goals here).

Have faith in yourself.  You do have what it takes.  Really, you do!  You can do your best now and it will be enough.


Jaye Sablan, Kelly Edwards, Ziyan Bai
Core Programs Team