The top ten things UoB students can do to stay motivated this semester

Ten ways of coping with the *new normal* (sorry, we had to)

As we begin a new semester of Zoom seminars and Panopto, it’s likely that many of us are feeling rather unmotivated for a new term of online teaching.

Whilst we’re sure no one misses trekking to campus in the rain, it can certainly feel very much like ground-hog day when there is nowhere else to go but your living room.

So, we’ve come up with ten tips for UoB students to stay motivated this semester.

Study with your housemates

It’s been a while since many of us saw our course mates, and it can be much harder to focus without your dedicated accountability partner.

Organising a study session with your housemates is a great way to fix this. Motivate each other, complain together, and hopefully, do some studying together.

For those of us not in Selly, you can try having a virtual study session with your friends over Zoom, too. Although we’re quite sure everyone has had enough of Zoom at this point, it’s important to stay in contact with other students who are also unfortunate enough to be doing their degree in a pandemic!

Keep active

And no, this does not have to be a freezing run through the treacherous streets of Selly Oak.

If you’re the person who wakes up at 6am, has a smoothie and goes for a run, then we bow down to your excellence. For a lot of us, however, finding the motivation to exercise can be very hard…cabin fever, who is she?

Yet, it is also very important. So, take a break from sitting indoors and reminiscing about pre-Covid life and enjoy a nice stroll to your favourite clock tower (who still seems to think its 12 o’clock?) and enjoy the scenic views of campus.

Reward yourself

Without a night at Soul Jam or Circo to look forward to, it feels like there is little incentive to do work. But the constant cycle of sleep, eat, study, is definitely not the healthiest way to function this semester.

So, whether you’re sitting down to do a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle or enjoying a boozy night in with your housemates, it’s important to reward yourself now and again for all your hard work.

Have a tidy study space

This is where a lot of us are probably spending a lot of our time at the moment, so it’s important we make sure to keep it as tidy as possible – having a cluttered study space is definitely not going to motivate you to do work.

It doesn’t matter whether you choose to adorn your desk with some dainty fairy lights or simply make sure it isn’t a total mess, having a tidy work space is essential to feeling motivated and organised.

Change up your setting

Staring at your bedroom wall all day can be pretty depressing. So, if you can scramble for a ticket at the library like its an Adele concert, that’s great! If not, you can try some of the other study spaces on campus that don’t require booking.

Not only can working on campus offer a well-needed change of setting, getting out the house now and again (even if it is just for studying) is another important way to stay motivated.

Keep in touch with your coursemates

Even if it’s just to rant.

We all have those course mates who we miss seeing around campus everyday, so try make some time to see them over Zoom (as much we might hate it right now) and have a good ol’ catchup.

Or, go for a socially-distanced walk together…if you can wrap up warm enough, that is.

Build a routine

Lockdown 3.0 – also known as, the world’s longest day – has us all feeling slightly overwhelmed at times.

Building a routine can be a great way to break up our time in isolation, and assure ourselves that we’re probably getting a lot more done than we think.

Having a bit of structure to your day might also make you feel more motivated, and probably a lot less swamped by your uni work, too.

Don’t do lectures and seminars from your bed

Although it can be very tempting with online learning to study from your bed, it can sometimes make it harder to relax when we actually do go to bed.

Having a study space separate to where you relax is an important way to make your down time feel a lot more like it really is down time.

Blurring the boundaries between relaxing and working can often make you feel less motivated and less efficient, so it’s important to make sure you’re always in the right frame of mind to tackle your studies.

Block out distractions

Yes, this does include your housemates sometimes.

Although working from home has its fair share of positives, there’s no doubt it brings a whole host of new distractions, too.

Whether you have to bar entry to your room or lock up your phone, removing the obstacles to your productivity is paramount to having an efficient working day.

Break down large projects into smaller ones

Have you got a 12,000-word dissertation to complete? Six hours-worth of Panopto to catch up on? No matter how much spare time we might have now, that one long task that’s been haunting you for weeks is always daunting.

Breaking a large project down into smaller sections can make it feel a lot more manageable, and in turn, you might just feel a bit more motivated to complete it. No matter how long the essay is, or how many pages you have left to read of that hefty book, as our queen Lily James once said in Mamma Mia, ‘Everything is simple when you break it down’.

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