7 Ways To Get Motivated and Stay Focused This Semester

So the holidays are over. They just disappear, don’t they? One minute we were finishing exams, the next we were chasing every drinks deal in town to celebrate, and then all of a sudden we’re receiving those dreaded ‘Welcome To The Course’ emails. Now, normally I’m the girl who can’t wait to go back to uni; don’t ask why – it’s something about the routine and feeling like I genuinely have my life together (plus, working in hospitality full-time does get old pretty quickly). But this semester has come out of nowhere, so I thought I would share some optimistic wisdom with you all so we can get back into the swing of things.

Start organising your routine now
Become familiar with your timetable, tell work your availability and figure out what spare time you have. By entering the semester already organised you’ll have a clear mind for your new courses. Keep in mind to not fill your whole week up with study and work – make sure to have some free time too.

Implement some healthy habits
If you’re someone who prefers to have classes in the afternoon, still get up early to get those brain cells working. Go to the gym, do a meditation, complete your readings for the class – anything that activates your mind. When studying, make sure to take regular breaks so your head doesn’t get cloudy, and try to stay away from screens when going to bed so you’re ready for those tutes tomorrow. As for snacking, go for the healthier brain-food option rather than that chocolate bar, and try to drink at least 1L of water a day!

A relaxing yoga session at Next Gen Memorial Drive.

Focus on daily goals
Everything is easier if you do one little thing at a time. Don’t stress about that major assignment yet; divide it up over the coming weeks and work on it gradually. This way you can manage your time across all of your courses and not lose track (this sounds like an obvious tip, but not many people actually seem to follow it).

Find a balance
This one’s pretty obvious: your work-life-study balance is so important to keep track of. Doing too many hours at work but can’t cut down because you need the money? Consider studying part-time. Super stressed about that test on Monday? Take a breather and see your friends on the Friday before. If you keep everything in check and know that study isn’t your only priority, you’ll find it easier to balance your life.

Embrace the breakdowns.
We’ve all had them –I’m pretty sure we each set a new record every new semester. You’re stressed and can’t deal with it anymore, so you flip your shit. It’s normal. If anything, it’s probably healthy. When you breakdown you’re letting go of everything you’ve kept inside – whether it be from uni or something else – and by doing this you can move on when it’s over. The following day you’ll be ready to make a plan… plus you always feel better after a good cry.

Fake it ‘til you make it
My friends frequently ask me how I keep my shit together when they’re all falling apart. Don’t get me wrong, my stress levels are often through the roof just like yours, but I try to keep calm and collected. My secret: plan everything. Every single day I will have an agenda to meet. This way I’m not leaving everything to the last minute. Another tip: stay positive. I cannot stress this enough. If you trick yourself into happy thoughts and positive attitudes, they will eventually become a routine and you’ll become naturally progressive.

Think of the diploma!
Or certificate, or whatever you’re striving for. That’s the main goal: to finish studying, and you can’t do that without going through all the bullshit and letting it create a better you. Just keep the day you’ll receive that piece of paper in the back of your mind, and everything that might come after it, and you’ll be able to focus on your current study goals a little better.

Everyone works differently and these tips might not be for you, but being able to identify your strengths and weaknesses in your studies is how you learn to approach ways that work best. Remember: don’t be so hard on yourself when all those assignments are due at the same time and you can’t remember the last time you actually slept. Your studies are important and they’ll lead you to a great future (I mean, you’d hope so), but your health and your passions are a high priority too, so always make sure you keep those in check. Just get past that first week and you’ll feel right at home again, straight after your tutor pulls that dreaded line, ‘We’re going to do a little exercise so we can all get to know each other’.

Image: Kristina Wilde

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