Staying motivated

Students make their way to the library to get started on their work (photo by Samantha Kellerman).

Students make their way to the library to get started on their work (photo by Samantha Kellerman).

Academic motivation reaches an all-time low during the last two months of the semester. The clocks move forward, the weather starts to warm up and thoughts of soon-to-be-summer flood your head. That mischievous little voice inside your head whispers “freedom is near.” Amid it becomes easy to let school priorities sit on the back burner.

But lets face it, those due dates are coming whether you like it or not and they are the only thing between you and summer vacation. I’m no expert, but as a fourth-year student en route to graduation I’ve felt that uninspired feeling many times and have come up with a few tips to help stay focused and motivated in the last few weeks of the school year.

1. Keep your eye on the prize
What good is working yourself all term long only to throw it away because you’re distracted by the weather? Remember that in the grand scheme of things, you only have a short window of time to write the papers you need to write and to get the grades you want. Nice weather lasts for months.

2. Eating healthy and keeping a workout routine
Taking the time to exercise is the perfect tool to help keep you naturally energized and feeling good. When your body is healthy, your mind is healthy.

3. Allow some down time
Locking yourself in your bedroom surrounded by scrap paper, dirty dishes and countless Tim Horton’s cups isn’t helping anyone. Work a little, play a little. It’s the best way to keep your brain from overloading. Disclaimer: you have to actually work a little to play a little.

4. Plan ahead
You know what’s due and you know how much time you have to do it, so plan accordingly. Allowing yourself enough time to complete every task on your list makes the whole experience much more enjoyable. Writing a 12-page paper is bad enough, don’t try to do it in one night.

5. A break is best enjoyed when deserved
From my experience, even something as simple as going out for drinks is only fully enjoyed if I know I’ve accomplished something that I needed to finish that day. Otherwise, I just spend the majority of my time thinking about my ‘to do’ list while everyone else attempts to have a good time. Don’t put a damper on your summer vacation by dwelling on what you could have done differently.

As the summer months approach, it’s easy to allow excitement and impatience to take priority over the last assignments we have to submit. As someone who’s experienced this a few times, I encourage everyone to pave the way for a satisfying summer by finishing out the term strong.

For those of you who are in summer courses like myself, re-read this article again at the end of July.

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