3 Feb 2016
Your holidays have been fantastic. No classes, no study, some work, but only enough to keep you alive. You’ve spent hours getting to know your Netflix account and given in to your wanderlust and travelled the world. You’ve partied with friends, new and old, stayed awake until the sun came up, and slept until the sun went down. You’ve finally had some freedom.
So, now that the fun is over, how do you motivate yourself to keep going?
We’ve put together five tips to help you out.
Think of the endgame
What is going to happen after you graduate?
Take the time to remind yourself that you’re the one steering the ship. You’re the captain. It’s an exciting prospect. And your study is your gateway to this.
Print out a picture that represents where you’d like to be or what you’d like to be doing and put it on the wall. Write down your goals and read them when you’re feeling unmotivated. Walk around singing the O’Jays’ ‘For the Love of Money’. Do whatever you need to do to remind yourself that what you’re doing right now, is working towards the life that you want.
This won’t last forever, it will be worthwhile, and soon you’ll be free again.
Make it fun
You’ve settled in now. You’ve already been to classes, worked through assignments, done the exams. This semester, you can relax a little.
So, what can you do? Maybe talk to someone you didn’t talk to last semester. Your new best friend could be sitting right next to you.
There are a million other things you can do: join in the on-campus celebrations, volunteer at one of the events, start a social club, make friends with someone from another country and learn each other’s language.
Remember, you’re in a place with endless opportunities, with people who are dedicated to helping you move forward and with thousands of other students from all over the world who are looking for the same thing as you – a great experience. Your time studying is what you make of it. Make it fun.
Studying is a big deal. If you’ve already made it through first semester, give yourself a pat on the back and while you’re at it, give yourself a pat from us as well. If you’re just starting your education adventure, congratulations on getting out there and trying something new. If you’ve got some spare money, buy yourself something nice to celebrate – some new stationary, a new pair of headphones, a new pair of shoes.
Rewards create a feeling of doing something you want to do, not just what you have to do. Even the smallest of rewards can do wonders for your mood and motivation.
Review your last semester
Spend time to assess how you went last semester. What worked well, what didn’t?
Did you end up cramming everything in the last minute, staying awake all night with toothpicks holding your eyes open? Can you work differently? Should you draw up a study schedule this time round? Should you start your assignments earlier? Should you approach studying for exams differently? Should you make use of the student support services?
Keep the things that worked and change the things that didn’t. Learn and move forward.
And if all else fails, just dance
Apart from being fun, dancing helps the brain function. Dancing can improve your cognitive skills since it prepares the brain for prime learning. The hippocampus and the cerebral cortex – which play a role in dancing – are rewired and consequently improved with frequent use. And the vigorous activity pumps blood to the brain, giving it the glucose and oxygen it needs to function well.
So, if you’re feeling blue, or lacking enthusiasm, try dancing your way to class. At the very least, it’ll make you fitter and smarter. And who knows, maybe there’ll be a dancing scout on campus, and you could end up a star!
You’re steering yourself in any direction you choose. Perhaps your direction is dancing superstar. You just never know.
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