How To Stay Motivated During COVID Online Classes

I never thought that I would ever have trouble maintaining motivation for studying since I got into med school because this was what I wanted all along and this was what I worked so hard for.

It’s been more than a year since most of the classes switched to online mode. My first thoughts when I heard we’ll be staying home for some time back in March 2020 were “great, more time to study”. I never in a million years imagined that we’d be staying home for more than a year.
Since the end of February when the epidemiological situation started getting even worse instead of better, I lost all my hope for getting back to live lectures this year. I lost most of my motivation, things that I used to take interest in I now didn’t anymore, and everything just seemed pointless to me. What do I even study for if I’m going to be locked up in my home for the rest of the year? Nevertheless, exams still will happen and how am I going to pass them if I don’t take any interest in topics were covering and find a way to stay motivated.

Here are a few things I did that helped me stay motivated and get on track with studying:

Watching medical shows

But NOT 17TH SEASON OF GREYS ANATOMY because even though I love Grey’s anatomy and I think they’re doing a great job with including COVID into the chow I just can’t watch COVID content when my goal is to relax and get motivation. So I watch either first seasons of Greys (or anything up to 17th season) or some other medical shows.

Watching vlogs of med students/doctors pre COVID

I’m sure you already have some of your favorite med students/doctors on youtube, so maybe take some time, listen to them, it helped me a lot and it kinda gave me hope that maybe thing will get better (yes I had a hard time).

Fear of failing exams

Thinking about exams and how much information I have to remember gives me anxiety about failing and pushes me to work harder. Not the best advice tho but if you’re like me, try stressing out about exams and I guarantee you that you’ll be motivated. Maybe just not as positive as we’d hope, but stress and fear motivation is still better than no motivation at all.


This may not work for everyone but hiking fills me with fresh air and when I return home I feel motivated and oddly, rested. I don’t particularly like long hikes, but I like 40-50 min of uphill walk and then I usually run back down.

Taking time to make neat notes

I think having neat notes gives you additional motivation as they are nice to look at and it gives you that feeling of satisfaction. So try really taking the time to make notes that you’ll really like and maybe this will help getting you to study.


Try journaling more, maybe just make some drawings if you’re not sure what to write and it will boost your creativity and hopefully motivation.

Take time to understand the topic

Since we currently have all the time in the world, maybe try to take time for that one awful topic that’s really been hard for you, and when you’ll master it, it will give you motivation for studying other, easier topics. I know you still have to find motivation to get to the hard topic but hey, pull yourself together with positive thoughts like “I only have to get through this, and then it will get better”. That kind of mindset helps me a lot.

Take time for self-care

It can truly be hard sometimes during these times so make sure to take care of yourself and your mental health too. If you’re feeling too stressed, down, borderline depressed, etc. try doing things that calm you down and make you feel good about yourself. For me that’s an ASMR YouTube video, a killer workout, facial mask and care, and what ALWAYS works for me: wrapping up in fresh bed sheets with washed hair and watching a Harry Potter movie (highly recommend).

Going over textbooks

This year I have to mostly study physiology so when I really need to study but don’t feel to, I take Boron’s textbook and just go over it. I like the smell books have and I watch all these (great) schemes they have and try to remember some things from lectures, read something and then I usually get into it and start studying.

Remove distractions

I also have to take my phone to the other room because it distracts me too much. This wasn’t such a problem for me before COVID, I could study and ignore my phone that was right next to me, but now I’ve been spending way too much time on Instagram and Tumblr so I remove it instead of letting myself get distracted.


Sometimes you just need to take a day or maybe two off and do nothing so that your brain gets some rest.