top of page

STUDENT RESOURCE: Ways to Stay Motivated as a Student Amidst a Pandemic

Updated: Dec 31, 2020

Art by Isabelle Lu, Web Manager and Staff Artist

During these difficult times, it’s easy to give in to the darkness around us, especially when there doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel. As a high school student, I often find it difficult to stay focused on school when there seem to be much bigger things happening around us. However, school is still going to guide us onto bigger and better things, so it’s important to stay on track in order to accomplish our goals. Read on for some strategies that have worked for me to get things done when I feel unmotivated, and hopefully these will help you out too! Remember that everyone is different and becomes motivated differently!

1. Make a to-do list

Sometimes, writing out all my tasks can provide a visual aid for everything I need to get done, and it often helps me organize my time better. There have been numerous occasions where I’ve become overwhelmed thinking of how much I have to do, but when actually seeing my to do list I realize that I have less than I realize, and many assignments won’t actually take long to complete. By physically seeing a list of the things I need to complete, I have a better idea of how long each task will take, and can often make dividing up the time easier. I find it much easier to prioritize my time by making a list, and I tend to get things done faster. This way, I can either tackle all the easy things first, or I’ll try and do the most time-consuming activities first. Either way, I’ll still be getting your tasks done, and even if I don’t finish everything, it will be very clear what still needs to be finished so I’ll still be staying on top of things.

2. Meet up with a friend

Especially in quarantine, life can get pretty lonely sometimes, which can make it difficult to stay motivated. Sometimes, being in the presence of a familiar face can bring a huge boost of energy, and can act as a spark of motivation. I definitely tend to be more productive when working with others, and this way you have a buddy in case you need help or clarification. You can both keep each other on track and mutually motivate each other. Even if you are unable to physically meet up with them, working together virtually will still be more entertaining than working alone.

3. Go for a change in scenery

Staying at home all day sucks, and being in the same place for an extended period of time can often lead to becoming unmotivated. However, a change in scenery can sometimes do just the trick to becoming more productive and getting things done. Get some fresh air and go outside (if the weather permits), and if your yard is big enough, maybe you can even set up a work station outside. Sometimes, moving to a different location within the house can also be effective in order to become more focused. If you’re someone who prefers working at coffee shops, try converting your own home into one! Put on some music, make some coffee and find a comfy chair and table where you can work. No matter where you decide to go, changing the scenery often works for me to become more productive, and it makes my day more interesting too.

4. Avoid distractions

Especially throughout quarantine, it’s gotten very easy to scroll through social media for hours or spend entire days watching TV. However, this probably isn’t the best idea if you have lots of things that need to be accomplished, so try and make your work space as free of distractions as possible. For me, I always leave my phone in another room, because when I have it by my side I’m always tempted to check my notifications--often leading to an unwanted 30 minute scrolling sesh. I’d also recommend keeping your workspace organized, because clutter can often discourage productivity and makes it harder to stay focused and work efficiently.

5. Create a bulletin board of your goals

During the current pandemic, it becomes easy to lose sight of our goals when everything always seems so hopeless. Something that really worked for me was making a “goals board” of my short and long term goals for the school year. I didn’t limit my board to just academics, I also included personal and social goals I had for myself. Whenever I feel unmotivated, referencing my board gives me a reminder of why I should keep going, and makes me more determined to achieve my goals. I also included some of my favorite inspirational quotes; I find those always give the boost I need to get focused again. Having a reminder helps me stay on track and not lose sight of the things I want to accomplish.

6. Don’t forget to take breaks!

Make sure not to overwork yourself, and take time to celebrate small accomplishments. If your brain starts to become foggy, or you cannot get yourself to focus any longer, take a short break and allow yourself to relax for a bit. Get a snack, go on a walk or chat with a friend, all of these can restore your drive and prevent you from going insane. It’s important to reward yourself every now and then and recognize the hard work you’ve put in. This may help you maintain a positive attitude, which will definitely be reflected among your work and productivity levels.

7. Remember you’re not alone

In this time full of unknowns, it’s important to remember that we’re all in this together, and that we’re here for you. I promise that however you’re feeling, there’s thousands of students across the country feeling the same way. We are trying to navigate through this difficult time, but we are here for you. Remember that these difficult times will pass, and if you stay on track now, your goals can be achieved, and we can get through this!


Ava Shaw is a staff writer at The Incandescent Review. She is from Orange County, CA and loves to write about educational and social related issues. In her free time, she enjoys watching Criminal Minds and going to the beach. Follow her on Instagram @ava__shaw.

Isabelle Lu is a 16-year-old creative from Long Island, New York. She is a winner of the New York Times Student Editorial Contest and the Scribe Writing Contest in poetry. She likes collecting strange earrings, which when worn may hinder activities like playing the cello and putting on sweaters. In her daily life, she can be found doodling and enthusing about books to unsuspecting innocents. Her art career began with magical girls.

53 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page