I’m pretty sure most (if not all) of us start off the academic year full of goals and aspirations to get into that dream university. However, once the workload starts piling on, it gets easier and easier to stop feeling motivated.
1. Think of the bigger picture
I know this sounds so cliché (believe me, I used to think that). However, once you start breaking something down to its fundamentals, you can begin to see it for what it is. This concept makes you remind yourself why you’re doing this. IB is rigorous, but it can be handled just like anything else if you have the right reasons for doing it.
Think about why you chose to do IB, and what your ultimate goal is. For me, it’s because I want to have a chance at schools such as Carnegie Mellon or MIT. I chose to do this program because it allows me to show competitive schools that I take up challenges to think critically and view situations from multiple perspectives. However, for you, this from can be anything from developing research skills to learning to handle college-like stress. Make sure you’re not doing the IB to complete the IB, think further. Once you start reminding yourself of the bigger picture, you can assume from a different perspective and move onto the next step.
2. Think about the benefits
As paradoxical as it may seem, you should keep the ‘big picture’ idea as a reminder of why you want to do work instead of what you’ll achieve if you do the work. Thinking about the benefits of doing IB will significantly change how you view the course. This is because, sadly, schools judge applicants based on external factors that are out of our control. By looking at the benefits, you will significantly improve your mental health since you’ll put in your maximum effort to get as close as possible to those dreams. As such, you’ll be able to forgive yourself if anything goes wrong, since you won’t have that guilty feeling of regret as you did everything within your control.
3. Surround yourself with like-minded people
Create a study group or even multiple groups. If you notice that a particular kid is fantastic at maths and works hard, try reaching out to the person to establish a regular time when you can meet up and do work. Whether that work is to study, revise, or complete an opening paragraph of your IA. The concept is that if one of you falls behind in your work, the other is there to remind you to complete it.
4. Proper to-do lists are critical
When I was doing my personal project (PP) back in Freshman and Sophomore year, I created colour-coded to-do lists. Nothing too big like “Complete the entirety of Criterion A.” In fact, you shouldn’t do that because I can assure you that every time you look at that, you’re going to decide that you’re too lazy. This is simply because it’s too big of a task to finish at once. Instead, write down a few smaller tasks that you can complete overnight. Something like “Summarise the body paragraph’s content into different bullet points for EE.” This will help you organise the information that you can further expand on later. Not only does it not take as much time, but doing this is extremely useful and leaves you feeling more motivated as well.
Always remind yourself of why you’re doing it, and you’ll be motivated to do it. Just take the necessary steps to break it down so you can build it back up and get that dream. So start with step 1 and decide why you’re doing this. I’m sure if you’re reading this, you’ll take the initiative to work a little smarter- there’s no better time to start than now. Good luck!