Beiwel: Starting out strong



Maddy Beiwel

A new semester has begun, and along with it all the excitement and nervousness that every new beginning conjures up. For some Iowa Staters, this is their last semester here.

Second semester is always a little harder for some people, with summer looming in the distance; almost here but also so far away. With the recent ice storms and low temperatures, it’s hard to think that this school year will be over in a matter of months, and most of us will scatter to the edges of the Midwest. Some will head back to other regions and others will go back to their home countries.

But the end is coming, and we have to think about that at the beginning of the semester.

Iowa State tries very hard to keep its students motivated by offering an array of different classes, class types, academic and special interest clubs, having events that offer free food and the chance to commune with other students outside of one’s usual schedule. I am thankful that I attend a university that tries to make school enjoyable for me. 

But many people find the beginning of the semester daunting. It is difficult to get back into the groove of school after a long break, particularly one that is filled with holidays that many celebrate. After downtime filled with food, family and fun, how are we to move back without a little bit of lead in our shoes?

We need to start the semester strong so that we can end it strong. There’s a lot to be said for positive thinking. It allows people to get into a mindset that makes them want to be in a better place. Positive thinking allows people to set goals and can prevent a person from setting themselves up for failure. 

But there is also a lot to be said for not relying on positive thinking. We can’t just make ourselves feel happy when we need that extra boost; that’s not how human beings work. Many experts talk of “overcoming discouragement,” and while that is an honorable sentiment, it is much easier said than done.

These same voices speak of professional help as well, for keeping mental health and motivation up, which is indeed the best advice for those who feel they may not have enough wherewithal to get through the rest of the year.

Another thing that may help with a person’s interest in continuing their motivation is keeping a healthy lifestyle. If one takes care of themselves, they are more likely to feel energetic, and less sluggish, and may be able to view the future through a more positive lens. 

Last, it is important that you never compare yourself to others. I know how hard it is to see other people around you who are doing amazing things, like getting great internships or straight As, or entering what seem like fulfilling relationships that might even last past the years of college.

While these people may seem like they have it all together, I can say with almost complete certainty that this is not always the case. 

As the semester starts, we need to take a new look at how we are doing the things we are doing. Any new start can be a chance to start over, or to keep on doing what works. While the end of the year can be an exciting prospect, we’re not quite there yet, and we need to remember that effort is important no matter what stage of life we are in.