Mid-way through the semester is the time we start to flag academically. You’ve been studying the same modules for so long that you start to lose interest (no matter how interested in the topic you actually ARE). They become work; therefore boring and tedious. Time and effort put into assignments reduces, and the feeling of “I can’t be bothered with this any more, so I’ll just submit it” becomes a lot more frequent. Distractions become more difficult to ignore. And to top it all off; you start to realise that exams really aren’t that far away.
As the American semester starts so much earlier than that of the British, I’ve already hit this slump, and I thought I’d use this opportunity to pass on my best tips for maintaining motivation. Some of these might sound obvious, but remember that more often than not, they have to be true to become cliché!
- Set small achievable goals. Things like “finish lab report by Tuesday” and “look over my notes after every lecture this week” are easy to do, and therefore give you frequent forms positive encouragement. This will keep you motivated to carry on working, even when you don’t want to.
- Reward yourself when you reach them! I always find the peanut butter brownies at St Martins Tea and Coffee do the trick.
- Make a schedule, and stick to it. Start working on assignments before the day they are due in, and give yourself plenty of time to prepare for exams and mid-semesters.
- Keep it realistic! Try as you might, you won’t be able to effectively do all of your reading and textbook questions in one evening. Nor will you be able to (or want to) concentrate for six hours, straight after your day of lectures.
- Create a workspace in your house/flat. Ensure it’s somewhere that you’ll only do work in (ie. don’t sit there and watch Netflix) so your subconscious will associate the area with focus and study.
- It’s obvious: but remove distractions! I use my iPad a lot for work, so I turn it on airplane mode. If you need your computer for research work, I find Google chrome apps like “StayFocused” really help to maintain concentration.
- Do your work or revision in groups. Even if they aren’t working on the same thing as you, just being around people concentrating helps you do the same.
- Maintain a healthy sleeping schedule. There are obviously times (cough cough Wednesday night LetsDisko) that you’re going to stay up late at university. But for the most part, when you know you have to be up for a 9am lecture don’t stay awake until 2!
- Hit the gym, or do some sort of exercise regularly. It not only helps you to de-stress but it gives you energy in other aspects of your life. As a rower I frequently exercise early in morning. I like this as it makes sure I’m awake early, and sets me up well for the rest of the day.
If you have any other tips, do comment them below. Until next time, readers!