Motivation: How to Find it

By Derrick Mow

Do you ever find yourself lacking in motivation or energy, trying to find a groove in your daily routines and responsibilities? This feeling of “languishing” - a term coined in an article from The New York Times - is a sense of stagnation, a "blah" feeling, as if we are going through the motions of our daily lives without a sense of purpose. 

Whether you are taking classes in-person or virtually, it can be tough to stay motivated. Here are a few tips and tricks on how to find motivation in college, and how to use that energy towards being the best that you can be. 


1) Think About the "Why"

When we think of motivation, we often think of two different types: extrinsic motivation, which is guided by external factors like money or fame, and intrinsic motivation, which is guided by internal factors like personal growth. When talking about higher education, an example of this might be the difference between taking a class because your friends are in it and taking a class because you enjoy and are inspired by the material. While taking a class with your friends might be fun, it might also be frustrating if you find yourself losing interest in the material. Developing an internal reason as to why you are doing what you are doing enables you to clarify your intentions, making it easier to push yourself in whatever it is you wish to do. 

2) Use Inspiration As a Motivator 

Human beings are naturally motivated by things we are interested in. Making time for the things we love enables us to find pleasure and motivation in our lives, and it gives us space to reflect and find meaning. When it comes to studies, this could mean taking courses in things you are inspired by or curious about. Exploring subjects that inspire you may add depth and meaning to your life, making classwork, exams and assignments seem less like a chore and more like part of an intellectual journey. 

3) Be Organized

College can be messy. From upcoming deadlines to financial responsibilities to the latest dorm-hall gossip, it can be hard to stay on top of your purpose and find meaning in the college experience. By staying organized and limiting procrastination as much as possible, you can bypass the stressful all-nighters which often occur at the end of a semester. You will also gain a better sense of direction and purpose if you have things in order, saving you time and supporting your overall wellbeing. 

4) Surround Yourself With Motivated People

Surrounding yourself with friends who are similarly motivated to succeed academically will enable you to feel less tempted to falter on your goals. You won’t be tempted to neglect your studies on nights that require your academic attention, and you will feel secure doing so. Remember, you are the average of the five people that you spend the most time with. Surround yourself with friends who challenge you to reach your goals, instead of friends who may tempt you to do other things, such as skipping class and partying on nights when you have exams and tests coming up. You can also try getting to know your professors during office hours. Your professors are always there to guide you in your academic journey, and inspire you to do your best. Pro tip: professors can be a valuable source of wisdom during your college years!


College is a time for self-exploration, intellectual growth, and lifelong friendships. However, it can be hard to find the proper motivation and inspiration to find your passion and to hopefully make a career out of it. While life as a university student may be tough, remember to apply these four tips to help you stay motivated and inspired to learn throughout your Corpus Christi-St. Mark's College journey and beyond. 

Derrick Mow is a former student at Corpus Christi College who studied courses in Screenwriting, Film Production, Literature and the Visual Arts. He is now in his third year of undergraduate studies at University of British Columbia, where he is completing his Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and minor in Philosophy.

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