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My advice on how to keep motivated

By GiorgiaRLA 12 Jun 2021

It can be difficult as a student to stay motivated and find a balance between our studies and personal lives. In this article, I give my advice on how to keep motivated and share some of the tips and tricks that specifically help me!

If you would like some more information on coping with your studies, you can find self-help strategies on the Student Intranet.

Take breaks and keep up with your hobbies

This may seem contradictory, but taking regular breaks is really important to keep motivated. If you feel yourself start flagging, get up and make a cup of tea, step outside for a bit of fresh air or take a lunch break. When you come back your mind will have had a mini reset from the break, making it easier to focus again. In between study sessions, make sure to do one of your hobbies, be it art, reading or gaming. Cutting out all fun will end up making you less motivated and less efficient in the end, so please take some time for yourself every day.

Grab a buddy!

If you are struggling to get yourself to sit down and study, try and do it in a group. Being around others who are also studying can motivate you to try hard just by watching others do their best. If they are doing the same subject, you can help each other out and understand the material faster and better with different perspectives. It’s also useful for keeping each other concentrated on the task.

Environment matters!

This one can be a bit tricky, as tidying your study space can be a form of procrastination (that I am very guilty of). However, if you are anything like me, then a messy environment can be really uncomfortable to study in. Try to do one big tidy and then keep it that way by doing little things every day like putting things back where you found them, however tempting it is to just place them down on the first available surface! If you can, try to switch up where you study. Now that we are getting lucky with the weather, studying in the park can be a really good idea - it’s refreshing and there are fewer distractions around.

Set goals!

It may help some people to set goals. You could start off small, only studying for 2 hours a day, and then gradually build it up in increments that you feel comfortable with. This especially helps when you have gone through a period of an extreme lack of motivation when diving straight into something like 8 hours/day from nothing usually wouldn’t be sustainable. Plus, every time you achieve a goal the satisfaction from it will help motivate you to make the next one! The goals needn’t be time-based - the important thing is having a plan.

You are amazing!

It can be really hard to resist comparing ourselves to our peers, especially in an age where so many upload their successes to social media. Following study YouTubers can be really helpful and you can learn a lot from them, but it is not healthy to constantly compare your own study plans to theirs. Remember to set your own pace and your own bars to reach; everyone is different and what works for one person might not work for another. Most importantly, remember that life is not a race and everyone gets to their destination in different ways, so look to others for support instead of as a competitor.

Personal Experience

I definitely struggle with keeping motivated; no matter how passionate you can be for your degree, sometimes the motivation just won’t come. Some smaller tricks I have picked up along the way are:

  • Don’t try to start studying by the clock - waiting for times like 12:00, 12:30, 12:45, is pointless and lets you procrastinate more when you inevitably miss it by a minute. Set a timer instead to keep track of how long you have been studying 😊
  • I found out I cannot study without music, so I like to listen to soundtracks while I study. Try and figure out if you prefer silence or a little noise by experimenting.
  • Be proud of your work! No matter how little/much you get done, be proud of what you accomplished each time.
a close up of a pink wall

If you would like to find out more information on looking after your own wellbeing then make sure to visit the Student Intranet to find a wealth of resources to help you manage your emotional, mental and physical health. If you’re not sure where to start, email studentconnect@cardiff.ac.uk and they can refer you to the service that is right for you.

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