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MIT student blogger Alexa J. '20

Finding Inspiration by Alexa J. '20

encouraging motivational inspiration

Warning: cheesiness ahead!

Halfway through this chaotic semester filled with too many midterms for me and too many college applications for many of you, I’ve watched motivation jump off of a building, and with it, inspiration and optimism. I’ve searched high and low, from Facebook to Instagram to Reddit but to no avail. Motivation was nowhere to be found (a.k.a. I’ve been procrastinating). That is, until I found an exhaustive list of quotes from the lovely captain of the lightweight women’s crew team, Sharon. I’ve compiled the corniest collection of these quotes into power monologues that you can tell yourself the next time every bone and neuron in your body is saying, “Can we do this?? No, we can’t!!”

(Also quick throwback to childhood for some positive vibes)

If you ever feel like you just can’t do it…

As I’m sure you know by now, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” (Wayne Gretzky). But sometimes, you think about how you’re finally going to take that shot and how magnificent it’s going to be but life becomes a 6’ 7” professional basketball player towering over you, and all you can do is pass the ball. It’s hard to see past the immediate deadlines and problems: psets, applications, practice, exams, essays, readings for HASS writing classes that don’t get done, more coffee, more psets, more emails to catch up on, more laundry to do (a very real problem), more ____ , more more more. But, “a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor” (Franklin Roosevelt), and “the most effective way to do it, is to do it” (Amelia Earhart). So if you get scared, “don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it” (C. Joybell C.). So yeah, “sometimes I feel like giving up. Then I remember I have a lot of idiots to prove wrong” (Stanley Ipkis).

“If we encounter an obstacle…

“all we have to do is bring it down and this obstacle will become a bridge” (Song Sam Dong). Sometimes, it’s hard to wrap your head around all the sheer size of a lofty goal, so take it step by step. “The greatest was once a beginner. Don’t be afraid to take that first step” (Muhammad Ali). Even if you have to take that obstacle down brick by brick, go the extra mile to get around it, or climb to great scary heights to get over it, it will be worth it because “opportunity is missed by most because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work” (Thomas Edison). Sometimes, though, you just want to lean up against that wall and take a nap, which is me all the time, but “people often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily” (Zig Ziglar). If one path doesn’t work out, forge another. “Whatever you are, be a good one” (Abraham Lincoln), but “be not simply good. Be good for something” (Thoreau).

If you’ve fallen and can’t get up…

“Be happy for no reason, like a child. If you are happy for a reason, you’re in trouble, because that reason can be taken from you” (Deepak Chopra). Don’t let anyone bring you down, especially not yourself, break down the walls society, your parents, your friends built around you, and move the mountains that have stared you down your whole life. So reach for new heights and climb those mountains, but “climb mountains not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world” (David McCullough Jr.). And “if you ever think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito” (Dalai Lama). So pick yourself up because “everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end” (John Lennon).

I hope this a guest post of sorts can help you through this semester. I guess I’ll end with a piece of advice I’ve been giving myself lately: listen with an open heart and mind. You can learn something from everyone you meet, whether it’s a quote from Abraham Lincoln or the person sitting next to you on the bus. We’re strong and beautiful and amazing individuals. Let’s go take the world by storm. I’ll end with another picture of cheese. Because cheese.