Motivation plays a big part in studying (especially if you’re studying online or the course is self-paced); however finding the motivation isn’t always so easy.
Whether you’re just starting out with a new course or you’re half-way through and seeking a little guidance to keep the momentum going, we’ve compiled our top five tips for maintaining study motivation at home or on campus.
1. Get clear on your study goals
Goal setting is a vital factor in driving motivation, so it’s crucial you really think about your reasons for studying and then set mini goals to help you maintain enthusiasm along the way.
For example, your main goal may be to attain a Bachelor of Education (Primary) to help you find work as a primary school teacher. As your course may involve working on reports, essays and practical placement, your mini goals could include dedicating a certain number of hours to revising your course material each week, attaining a specified mark on each piece of assessment you submit, or building your confidence to teach a class during placement.
Write your goals down to make them more tangible, put them somewhere you’ll see them regularly, and check off your mini goals as you achieve them. This will help remind you of the reason you’re studying, and allow you to clearly see the progress you’re making.
2. Create the right environment
Trying to study in a chaotic environment can sour your entire studying experience, so get into good habits early on. If you’re able, set up a dedicated study space or retreat where you can focus solely on learning. A good study space will include a sturdy desk, the right technology, and plenty of natural light.
If you’re juggling study with family or you’re sharing an apartment, it might not be possible to dedicate a space only to study. If this is the case, make it a rule to remove as many distractions as possible during dedicated study times.
Turn off the television, put your phone on silent, log out of Facebook, and ask your family or flatmates to leave you undisturbed for a minimum of one hour. If this isn’t possible, remove yourself from any distracting situations and head to a park or café if you need the internet.
3. Make a schedule
When you’re studying for a new career, there will be times when you’ll want to finish your course as soon as possible. Unfortunately, there will also be times where you’d much rather sleep in, go to the beach, or meet a friend for coffee.
Making a schedule – and sticking to it – removes the opportunity to tell yourself you’ll just study later. It’s like getting into the habit of going to the gym in the morning, so you don’t have to decide whether or not to go after work.
Planning out a study schedule will help keep you accountable and helps to ensure you always have enough time set aside.
Write out your schedule in a physical diary and make a goal to follow it for three weeks straight. By the fourth week, you should be in the habit of settling down for those study times and won’t think twice about it!
4. Figure out your learning style
If the thought of reading a textbook for an hour fills you with dread, you’re going to find it a lot harder to keep your scheduled study dates. If you could spend that time listening to the content being explained, or drawing diagrams to help you remember key theories, would that make you more excited about what you’re learning?
It’s far easier to get motivated to study when you play to your own strengths and learn in a way that comes most naturally. This helps you best engage with your course material, so figure out your learning style ASAP to get the most out of each study session.
5. Find a study buddy
The reason fitness boot camps are so popular is that people generally find it a lot easier to commit to a workout with a friend. A boot camp buddy can provide you with support and make the workout more social. People are also usually reluctant to let their friend down by not showing up.
The same principal can apply when finding motivation to study, so consider buddying up with a friend or classmate once a week to go over what you’ve learnt. You might meet for lunch to discuss the learnings of the week in your own words, or plan Skype sessions to quiz each other on key facts.
If you’re not able to find a buddy taking the same course as you, ask a friend or partner to support you or spare a few minutes while you recap over dinner. Simply taking the time to summarise what you’ve been studying can help clarify and solidify the information in your own mind.