Now that we have reached the middle of the term, a lot of students find it hard to keep themselves motivated. All of the excitement from the start of term is almost gone, especially if you have found yourself in a unit that you can’t relate to – trust me we have all been there! If you have found that your spark of motivation has faded or you just need some inspiration to keep studying, keep reading.
It doesn’t matter if this is your first, third or sixth year at university, we all experience the lack of motivation during the middle of the term. This is usually the time where students start to doubt themselves or their subjects. Students begin to ask themselves, “why am I doing this?”, “what does this have to do with my future?” and most commonly, “why am I even here?”.
All of the term’s stresses start to kick in after break week. Knowing first-hand how this affects a student’s mental health, I asked students from different areas of study how they keep themselves motivated throughout the term.
Last week, I caught up with Chloe Sibley who is currently studying a Bachelor of Music. Chloe, like the rest of us, tends to get caught up in the theoretical side of university and sometimes forgets the reason why she loves music.
“I have to remind myself that it’s great that I’m learning about music and studying but, your instrument is your buddy too,” she said.
It isn’t a secret that the arts are always kept on their toes and we should be prepared to face anything. For Chloe, she is constantly thinking of her future and finds that it encourages her to finish her degree.
“You always have to have a plan of, where am I going to go next? You have to find something that entertains you but is also going to motivate you through university,” she said.
For all the music students out there, Chloe recommends that you take a break to remind yourself why music is your passion.
“Even jamming out with people in a band on a Sunday afternoon, you kind of remind yourself ‘yes this is fun’ and ‘this is what I want to do’,” Chloe said.
Chloe Sibley (middle) playing the saxophone for the production CATS
In the field of Medical Science, Ashleigh Jamieson finds that different techniques help her out to keep motivated. Science subjects are heavily content based at university and it can be a lot of pressure to try and absorb all of the information that your lectures provide.
For Ashleigh, medical science is only a stepping stone so she can eventually study paramedicine. Ashleigh often feels the pressure to do well in her courses so she can one day transfer and work towards her dream. To get her through her current degree, Ashleigh has a few tricks to keep motivated, one of which is to set weekly goals. These goals shouldn’t be difficult and some goals on Ashleigh’s list include:
- attend a lecture for a particular subject
- get out of the house twice a week
- drink eight glasses of water per day.
“It’s just setting little intimate goals that lead up to the bigger goals that could include getting a distinction or a high distinction. Without these little goals you tend to forget where you’re at and why you’re doing it,” she said.
Ashleigh also has the Ambulance Australia emblem on the wall in her study to motivate her to get through her studies, as well as a photograph of paramedics in their uniform as her laptop background.
“I would see them and know that that was going to be me one day,” she said. “I keep telling myself that it’s not a want, it’s a need. I don’t want to be a paramedic; I need to be a paramedic.”
Ashleigh Jamieson’s study space
Emma Cheers, a primary education graduate, is now thriving in her field at a school in South Australia. She too found it hard to motivate herself throughout university and found that pacing herself through her work was the best way to accomplish her dream.
“I would always reward myself. If I could do a solid hour of work, I could go out and get a coffee or I’d go for a run. You have to give yourself little rewards to work through it,” she said.
For students who are studying education, you might already be aware that both your current course and future career are going to be full on. This is when Emma discovered that it was very important to balance her workload and the things that she enjoyed so she wouldn’t grow to resent the work.
“I think it happens in education all the time,” Emma said. “It’s really important to keep your eye on the end goal and remind yourself that this is what you want to do with your life.”
We all know reading textbooks is not fun for the majority of the time, but Emma found a creative way to relate herself to the information.
“Just trying to keep in mind the job when you’re reading,” she said. “Try and relate it to your work and ask yourself ‘how could I use this in the classroom’ or ‘how could this help me in my career’, rather than just focusing on the negative of it being boring and not helpful.”
Emma Cheers with her Diploma
Now, not all of these techniques will work for every student, but there are other tricks that you can use to keep yourself motivated. Rhianna Wood, a current nursing student, looked at the notes on her phone from when she first started university and found that she wrote a note to remind herself why she wanted to be a nurse.
“I assumed that at some point I would start to question myself and what I was doing, so I wrote to myself to remind myself why I was doing this,” she said.
You could be just starting your degree or just about to finish. Take a moment to write yourself a note listing all of the reasons why you want to be what you want to be.
“I think it is really important to remember what got you interested in the career in the first place,” Rhianna said.
Rhianna Wood (right) standing with School of Nursing MaskEd character Maude Manser (left)
While making lists and setting goals may help you with your studies, you should never forget to take time for yourself. Professional Communications student, Alyssa Glover, said that it was important to enjoy the university experience while it lasts.
“You are definitely going to have the hard parts where you’re not going to appreciate how far you have come from the beginning of your studies,” she said.
“You may lose sight of the end goal sometimes, but you have to take some time to yourself and remember the ‘why’ of it all.”
You might like to take a day or two to yourself and watch a movie or television show about your future profession and be reinspired and gather some motivation to continue your studies.
Alyssa Glover on CQUniversity Townsville campus.
Remember that university is challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone – there are plenty of people here at CQUniversity to support you.
Eloise Arnold is a current Professional Communications student and member of the Social Squad – a group of content creators helping to promote student and campus life at CQUniversity.