On & Off Campus Blog

Looking forward to the little things
Looking forward to the little things
by Shane McCauley '24

Every week, when I'm suspended under the weight of all my homework, one thing keeps me motivated above anything else: at least I'll be able to get my coffee on Saturday.

I know. It sounds silly. But it's true; the only time I'm able to order my favorite iced coffee from Dunkin' is on Saturday, so it's turned into a bit of a weekly ritual for me. And because I like coffee so much, and because it's only weekly, it inflates the value of the experience, making it something I truly look forward to throughout the week. I've spent an hour on math homework, and still can't finish the proof? Well, I can look forward to Saturday. We're running six miles for cross country practice, and I'm already tired at the end of the school day? At least I'll still get my coffee on Saturday.

While I'm exaggerating, the point still stands. Having a little something to anticipate at the end of the week makes it easier to stay motivated throughout all the complications of the school week, even if it's something trivial like my aforementioned coffee. In fact, I think we all have things like this. Whether it's subconscious or not, we're always looking toward the next event that'll give us a bit of a boost. And this has actually been proven to work; according to a scientific study from 2015, fixating on a future positive event boosts a person's mood.

It's also a bit easier, and maybe even more beneficial, to anticipate a smaller, but still pleasurable short-term event. Sure, we're all working toward our own futures and happiness, but having something to work for on a smaller scale each week is arguably more motivating. It has a faster payoff, and, if it's something weekly like my "ritual," it keeps on serving as a motivator.

So, for anyone finding it impossible to get through all the work of the week, think about one thing on the weekend or later in the week that you're eagerly anticipating. If nothing rushes to mind, make plans with friends, and then focus on that. Or you could, accidentally or not, start a weekly routine around something small but enjoyable.

Can I suggest you consider coffee?