Finding success in the real meaning of the grind

By KOPAL BANSAL | September 6, 2018

Why do you do what you do? Seriously. 

Most of us spend our days just going through the motions; we get up, go to class, study and sleep only to repeat the cycle again. 

What is behind those late nights in the library spent trying to make it through that problem set, running back and forth from Homewood to the med campus to do research or volunteer, the plethora of extracurriculars that we juggle?

It’s too easy to get caught up in the chaotic schedule that comes with so many commitments. We often barely have time to eat, let alone think about why we take part in this mad rush. 

Some might say, “Well, I’m doing this because I’m at Hopkins. It’s what everyone does.” Others might claim, “I’m doing this because it’s what my parents want me to do.” 

But answers like these are part of the problem. If you don’t have an internal drive, you won’t get very far. 

Sure, you might be able to finesse your way through the first few weeks of class. But when finals hit (and they will hit hard, believe me), you’re going to need that extra X-factor to stay on your grind. 

And that kind of motivation comes from within. 

It doesn’t come from your parents telling you what to be when you grow up. It doesn’t come from simply being a Hopkins student. No.

True mental and physical stamina, the kind that carries you through your roughest weeks, comes from finding what it is you’re meant to do. 

So this week, sit down and be honest with yourself. The start of a new semester is the perfect time to determine your goals and plan out how you’ll achieve them.

The first step is making a reasonable schedule and sticking to it. Personally I prefer to estimate how long it will take me to complete each task and create an hour-by-hour schedule of each day. 

This isn’t the only approach. Perhaps you prefer to make to-do lists or maybe you like Google Calendar. Whatever it is, the key here is that you stay organized. 

If you do so, you’ll be less likely to forget things. Furthermore you’ll be less stressed because you’re breaking down seemingly formidable tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks. 

Another important yet often forgotten tip is to take breaks. It is neither healthy nor productive to study all day. Eventually your brain will get tired, and you’ll find yourself checking Instagram instead of actually getting work done. 

Find something that you enjoy doing and allot time for it every day. In my case, I enjoy exercising to clear my mind, de-stress and stay healthy. 

It might seem that working out would leave you more tired and unmotivated, but it’s the opposite. Exercise makes you more alert and focused while releasing endorphins that boost your mood. So get out there and get moving! 

Pro tip: A bit of caffeine post-workout can help to sustain that adrenaline-induced energy rush, so you can get some hardcore studying done too. 

In addition to exercise, it’s important to have a balanced diet so that you’re giving your body the fuel it needs. Always gotta stay on that grind. So let’s get those fruits and veggies! 

During especially difficult weeks, you might need an extra push. I turn to motivational videos on Youtube, pump-up speeches and music that gets me in the right mindset to get some serious work done. 

However, these methods only work when you’ve ignited the fiery drive within yourself to do more, achieve more and be more. 

So let’s get it this semester: Let’s push ourselves to give it our all and learn from our mistakes. 

Yes, at times, it will be hard. You might feel like giving up or worry that the struggle won’t be worth it. 

During these moments, step back and remember your purpose, your why. 

So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started! 

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