Written by: 
Zieniūtė Ugnė Saturday, 23 June, 2018 - 20:47

On a Quest for the Lost Motivation

Lack of motivation is a common issue all volunteers face. However, the situation doesn’t have to be so complicated since there are multiple ways to bring back the initial excitement and joy that made us fall in love with ESN.

No matter how long you have been in ESN, it is still possible that, at some point, you feel a little less motivated than usual. However, there is nothing wrong with not feeling like a superhero of volunteering all the time. I know that this might sound silly, but the number of people who are dealing or have dealt with similar problems revolving around the lack of motivation in ESN could surprise you. It is quite common to think that we are the only ones who have to face this and then become too afraid to tell others about our situation because we tend to assume they will not understand or start judging us, but we are more alike than it might seem at first.

All of us have to deal with stress. All of us sometimes have burnouts. However, it means that we are together in this, and we can help each other.

A little bit of advice from experience

The first solution can give you more than just a little bit of a push in the right direction. Sitting down for a chat with someone who has been in ESN long enough to have enough experience for a book can really give you the answers to the questions that are bothering you right now. Why am I not as motivated to help others as I used to be? Isn't it supposed to feel right all the time? Members who have stayed in this organisation for quite a while know these and many more sometimes even rhetorical questions by heart.  

Just think for a minute about how many memories these people have. To be fair, it is possible that not everything has always been nice and perfect, but they have stayed in ESN because helping others brings them happiness. It still does, since after all those years they are still choosing to spend time either in their sections or maybe even national and international level. Experienced ESN members have found ways to get back on their feet and are more than willing to help you do the same. If you don't believe that, then just try to ask one of them for advice and see their eyes light up with joy. Sharing is caring, and these people can share so much with you.

Going back to the roots

What if you have been in ESN for a long time and you are the "old member"? It doesn’t mean that you have no one to turn to when volunteering gets tough. Just look around and see all those new members who have chosen to devote a part of their time to help international students. They are channelling the same excitement and motivation that you might be looking for. For example, the happiness in their eyes every time they can make someone's day better or when they help with an event in their local section is exactly what can help you remember the true meaning behind the goals of ESN.

It can be quite easy to forget why we are here. Some of us go even beyond the local level, and it can seem like we have lost the initial connection to volunteering and to the simple things that once brought us satisfaction. However, nothing is truly lost. We are still the same volunteers who have once made a wonderful decision to join ESN.

Say "yes" to opportunities

We usually have so many chances to meet other members from ESN. For instance, why not go to a National Platform or one of the training events that are being organised in the network? This is not just about gaining new skills and knowledge, you can also join discussions and talk freely about the issues that you might be facing. Share your ideas, thoughts, and questions with people you have met there because this is a unique opportunity to tell the world what is on your mind and receive advice.

There are multiple ways to deal with the lack of motivation, and it is up to you to decide which one is the most suitable for you. However, one thing is clear – you shouldn't think you are alone in this. We volunteer for the well-being of international students, but we should never forget that our well-being is just as important, and it is time to end the stigma around the lack of motivation and understand that it is natural. Only then can we help each other as a team and come back to the initial feeling that volunteering once gave us - happiness.

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