Motivating Yourself in Semester Two

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Struggling to get back into the university swing of things after the Christmas break and a stressful exam period? Fiona Carey shares her tips on how to get your head back in the game as we head further into the second semester.

We’ve all been there; unsure what day of the week it is, avoiding looking at how much you spent over Christmas and promising yourself you’ll get on that fitness thing (as soon as you’ve polished off the chocolates you got for Christmas). But for students, January just means exams, deadlines and complaining you’re bored waiting for uni to start back again – even though you know full well you could/should be revising. So how do you get back into the swing of things after this long period of nothingness? Here are 5 top tips:

Get a Calendar/diary

Whether is shirtless pictures of Zac Efron, A.F.C Bournemouth or cute Pomeranian puppies (guilty🙋🏼‍♀️), get a calendar you can hang somewhere in sight and fill it in with all your tasks, deadlines and general to-dos. Diaries work well too, but as long as there out in the open and not closed in a bag somewhere! By having it in sight, you’ll have full clarity of your month ahead and will see any deadlines approaching so you won’t get caught out. But above all, who doesn’t want cute puppies on their wall? 🤷🏼‍♀️

Nights out are not compulsory – treat them as incentives!

We all know what it feels like, Wednesday roles around and your body instantly starts preparing itself for cameo as though it’s the most routine part of your life at uni (which it probably is). But nights out are not an extra unit that you HAVE to attend to get your degree. Start treating nights out like an incentive; got your essay submitted? Toast Tuesday it is! Presentation all done? Sure, go off to Aruba to celebrate! There will be other nights out over the year, do you really want to be stuck in the library hungover trying to get to that 2,500 word count? You’ll feel better mentally for being on top of it and a lot better than your housemates the next day physically! Plus, nights out are so much better when they’re not forced into your routine.

Know your units ahead

Getting organised early on is the key and it’s great because you feel really productive for sorting your life out, even though you haven’t really done anything! It’ll really help you. Make a folder for each of your units on your desktop, download a copy of your unit guides from Brightspace and put them in each one. This way you’ll have quick access to everything you need to know about your upcoming assessments and will know clearly where all your work is. Keep a sticky note on your desktop with a list of all your deadlines on so you’re aware of anything upcoming (and without sounding like a little neek, it’s so satisfying to cross them off when you complete an assignment🤓).

Meet up with friends

This is more important than you think. Ever tried to diet and you agree to cut out all sugar, fat, salt, happiness and carbs? It doesn’t last! Saying you’ll work all day every day till you graduate might sound like the way forward but isn’t realistic, you need to let your hair down and have a little “you time” too. Even if you’re not a big drinker, arrange to meet up with your friends and go out for a nice meal. Again, having something to look forward to will give you a goal at the end of your hard work. It’s hard to stay motivated when there’s no end in sight so don’t forget to give yourself a break.

Spruce up your workspace

Some people prefer to go into uni to work during the day, so they can have their evenings free and that’s completely fine. But often there will be nights you have to stay up late to get work done at home. Sprucing up your workspace to make it an area you actually want to sit in will make doing work a lot more bearable. Think a clear desk space, fairy lights (yeah boys can have fairy lights too), a comfy seat/cushions, some motivational quotes around and maybe even a scented candle. If you’re really lacking motivation, why not frame a picture of your dog for your desk to remind yourself who you’re doing this for.

Getting back into the habit of uni takes time, but of course time is very very scarce at times. Make some small changes, but keep balance to provide incentives for yourself as we head further into the new year. Don’t waste all your hard work from last term and get stuck in!