How to Find Inspiration in College

No matter what you major in, you’re going to need inspiration at some point.

Whether you’re trying to think of killer intro sentence for your seventeen-page paper, or you’re simply looking for some motivation to keep at it with your chosen major, seeking inspiration can really be a big help. If you’re not someone who is naturally inspired day in and day out, you might be wondering where to even start looking for that catalyst you need to keep you headed in the right direction.

In case you need a little boost, we’ve compiled a list of helpful places to start looking for inspiration. Hopefully one of these ideas can help jumpstart you toward the creative or motivational thinking you’re trying to cultivate.

1. Read, listen, watch

While too much media can be detrimental to inspiration, since you need a little space in your life for creativity to bloom, media can be a helpful tool for sparking ideas and ambition. What you put into your mind often feeds what comes out of it. If you’re looking to write a fabulous paper about a theological concept, why not read a few theological allegories to get the juices flowing? If you’re in a poetry class trying to write a poem for your next assignment, reading other writers’ work will most assuredly spark something in your mind. The key is to choose authors whose style you hope to emulate—if you feel drawn to a certain voice or creative bent, stick with it and take some time to focus on that.

Watching movies or listening to music that gives you the kind of emotion you want to trickle into your work can be a great way to consume some media that will positively impact your project.

2. Get outside

Solvitur ambulando /ˈsɒlvɪtər ˌæmbjʊˈlændoʊ/ is a Latin phrase which means “it is solved by walking” and is used to refer to a problem which is solved by a practical experiment. But also, it can be used to simply mean that walking is oftentimes a great way to get the answers you’re looking for. Taking some time to slow down, look around you, and exercise can give you the space to generate the ideas you need. Hiking or taking a jog is also a great way to move your body in the outdoors and do some thinking.

Now, this only works if you keep your head up and your nose out of Instagram and Snapchat while you’re strolling around. Take a friend with you so you can verbally process, or even a notebook and pen to write down ideas as you think of them. The outdoors can help you produce some beautiful things.

3. Verbally process

Talk through your projects and ideas with the people in your life. Even if you’re just making small talk with a new acquaintance, you never know who will have a connection to someone or something that will get you the inspiration you need. Connecting with other people is an excellent way to start developing and further process what you’re trying to decide or do.

One of the most beautiful things about talking through your plans or ideas with other people is the variety of perspectives you’ll get. Each person has such a different outlook on life, based on how they were raised and their natural aptitudes and strengths. You might start looking at a venture or assignment in a different way than you would have been able to without that conversation.

4. Try something new

Inspiration is often waiting in unexpected places. Going to a new place can open up parts of your mind you didn’t realize were there. Try a new restaurant or do something physical like rock climbing or river rafting. Go explore a new city, ride a city bus, or go to a fun festival with a group of friends. You don’t have to be focusing on your project or idea the whole time, but you might find yourself refreshed and able to look at your undertaking with new eyes. There’s this element of delight and surprise that comes with experiencing something that was formerly a mystery. Don’t let fear get in the way, and ask around if you need some ideas of where to go to get inspired!