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At a loss for motivation? Here’s Ita’s guide to regaining your love for studying

At a loss for motivation? Here’s Ita’s guide to regaining your love for studying

At some point during our time at University, most of us will experience a dip in or even an almost complete loss of motivation to study. It is not necessarily our fault. Such things happen even, or maybe predominantly, to the best students. I have written in one of my previous blogs about how to avoid that, but now I think it would be useful to share some tips on what to do when it nevertheless happens.

However, remember that these are just my tips and you might find that something else will work better for you. The most important thing is to find a method that works for you!

Make a plan

It might sound trivial but it really helps. Make a weekly plan on what you should (or have to do) each day. Also remember to include any deadlines in your plan too: this will help you see more clearly how much work you need to put in each week.

Also remember to include breaks in the plan – getting some rest is just as important as getting your work done!

You can stick to the plan rigidly, or treat it more like a reference point to see what needs to be done: whatever works best for you. Also, you might find that you will start with strict adherence to the schedule and gradually move away towards a more flexible approach.

Set goals

Again, it’s a pretty obvious thing, but it can prove rather useful. When starting university, you probably already have some overarching goals and far-reaching plans. However, these might, at times, appear too remote. So it might be helpful to set yourself some more imminent goals. This could be finishing assigned reading ahead of a class, completing assignments on time, and so on. These should help you stay focused and you can always celebrate a little when you achieve them!

Find your perfect study spot 

This is a really important thing. We all prefer different environments to study in and they can be of great help when we’re struggling.

You might find that being in a library where everyone else is studying will simply make you study harder. Or again, you might prefer the “café aesthetic” and explore some nice little coffee/tea/hot chocolate nooks while studying.

The Main LibraryI usually alternate between my room, the Main Library, my School’s Research Room, and a café (my favourite spots are Caffé Nero, and Söderberg at Quartermile which is just off the Central Campus).

Again, whatever works best for you. It might take some time for you to find your favourite study spot!

Reward yourself

This tip ties in nicely with the previous one. Achieving goals is important but so is celebrating those small victories/achievements. It doesn’t have to be anything big, just something that makes you feel better.

I usually opt for a nice cup of coffee or hot chocolate from my favourite café (Uplands Roast) or if it’s something bigger, I’d go for lunch with my friends to one of my favourite spots (usually the Round Square Coffee House).

This is also often accompanied by a visit to my favourite National Gallery in Princess Street Gardens or to the Royal Botanics – depending on the weather and the amount of time I can spare.

Such small celebrations do make things easier in the long run and help you relax a bit before getting back to work again.

Don’t struggle in silence

You might also find that despite all your efforts, you are still struggling. Again, this might happen and does not reflect badly on you. That’s just life.

In such situations, it is best to talk to someone. It can be a friend, a Peer Mentor, your Student Adviser, or any of the other support options available. You should definitely talk to someone you trust and feel comfortable with.

At the University of Edinburgh, we are fortunate to have a very robust network of support on different levels.

I hope this helps you navigate your time at university!


Image of Main Library © University of Edinburgh, 2011-05-16

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