It’s summertime, and while our summer this year looks different than in years past because of the COVID-19 pandemic, hopefully you’ll still be able to get outside in the sunshine, relax a bit, and recharge for the coming year. Last semester was challenging for many people. Even if you weren’t in school and were working full-time, it was still challenging, due to changing work schedules and managing children and their school schedules.
Maintaining your motivation for your graduate program, research, thesis or dissertation, and your professional goals can be challenging at a time like this. It might feel like all of your energy is going toward just staying afloat for now, or keeping things running smoothly at home. That’s okay. That’s completely normal. There are ways to keep that motivational spark lit for the coming fall. Whether you’re taking some time off from your work or making incremental gains with research and writing, here are a few tips to help you stay motivated during the next few months of summer.
Touch base with your advisor. This is a good idea anyway, especially given the pandemic situation and the lack of face-to-face, in-person meetings. Whether it’s by phone, Zoom, Skype, or email, keep in touch with your advisor. Let them know what you’ve been working on, what your plans are for fall, talk with them about the up-coming semester, and discuss any contingency plans that may need to be put into place. Ask questions you have, even if you think they’re silly – this is an unprecedented situation, so questions and concerns are to be expected.
Keep reading. Read articles in trade publications and academic journals in your field. Read books related to your field and your interests. Just keep reading – check out our post on the benefits of book clubs that explains more about all of the benefits of reading.
Keep a journal. This can take various forms, and maybe you even have more than one. We have posts on keeping an academic bullet journal and keeping a research journal that might be helpful. The important thing is to keep the journal near you at all times, even on your bedside table at night. You never know when you might get an idea, have a dream about something, or hear something that jogs your memory. Write down the title of books you want to check out, ideas you want to pursue, research leads or thoughts you like – whatever you want that will help keep you on track, looking toward the next semester, and help pique your interest.
Stay connected to others. Especially your fellow cohort members. Especially today, with social media platforms, Zoom, and Skype, you don’t have to do this in isolation. Create a Facebook group for everyone, have check-ins to keep each other accountable, or just call each other or send messages to see how their summer is going. Taking some time to connect with other people can provide you with some much-needed community spirit.
Progress, not perfection. Go easy on yourself. If you’re working on your thesis or dissertation, even just preliminary research or reading, break your project into small, attainable steps so you can reach your goal. Just keep moving forward and don’t get discouraged. Even if it’s not perfect, that’s okay. You’ll be revising and revisiting your project countless times.
Here at Dissertation Editor, we know what it’s like to write a thesis or a dissertation. We know that sometimes it’s easy to let your motivation flag over the summer, especially when the summer isn’t going as it typically would. We offer a range of services, including research assistance and coaching/consultations, to help you beat the blues and regain your forward momentum. Contact us today to see how we can be of assistance.< The ADA Turns 30! Tips for Online Learning >