Monday, 20 March 2017

March Monday Motivation: Because You Probably Need It

Motivation for University Students

I don’t think there is a more ironic time for me to be writing this post; specifically because my motivation levels are running lower than the wind-chill we had at the start of the month. The winter blues combined with work, volunteering with the Week of Welcome and Orientation 2017 (which I am thoroughly enjoying despite the full schedule), and the just surviving the busiest time of the semester are draining my motivation levels to nothing.

So, I don’t blame you if it feels like the world is doing everything in its power to make sure you get no sleep and look like a less-than-desirable version of yourself right now (shout out to sweatpants and greasy hair). And I would be lying if I said that I’m not writing this article for my own selfish procrastination than for you.

But instead of listing my struggles, let’s get to the point of this post. I’m going to try my best to give your motivation a literary shot of red bull (because I think the real thing tastes gross).

Lets Face It, You’re Distracted: 

First things first, you have to realize that you are losing focus. I know that it’s tempting to pretend like you aren’t as distracted as you actually are. I mean if you don’t think scrolling through Facebook for 15 minutes, sorry, an hour, is distracting you and killing your motivation, them by all means continue…but please read what I have to say first.

Take a Break/Take a Nap/Take a Shower: 


Whenever I start to lose focus, I take it as a sign that I need a break. Yes, Facebook is permitted, but make sure the time spent scrolling through memes is reasonable. Actually maybe just stay away from memes in general. A nap is literally the human version of charging a phone, except this time, the battery is your brain and the power source is your bed. Showering is also a great way to wake yourself up, get your blood pumping, and refresh your brain both literally and figuratively.

Eat a Snack:

I know its tempting to stress eat and empty the entire fridge, but please don’t. We don’t want the freshman 15, or any more repeats of it. Try to have a light, healthy snack. There are some foods that can help with focus and concentration. You could even combine the reward of food and of getting your readings done/acquiring knowledge by using this genius technique.

Surround Yourself with Focused People:


This is more effective than you may think. Nothing is more motivating than studying with someone who has enough drive for the both of you. And you can help quiz each other on notes, etc.

Reality Check:

Image courtesy of Giphy

Remind yourself of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Sometimes we get so caught up with the stresses of our present situation that we forget why we are there to begin with. Re-write your goals for the future and read them over so that you can remember why you signed up for this in the first place.



When studying gets boring, try incorporating some creativity into your study routine. Listen to audio books while you fold your laundry or read while you exercise on a bike or treadmill. Speaking of exercise, cardio is a great way to get your blood pumping and the endorphins running. I can almost 100% guarantee that it will help relieve some stress.



Okay this is a tricky one because it has been scientifically proven that music hinders our focus and distracts us from retaining information. However, after writing who knows how many essays, I’ve realized that listening to music helps me splurge and write faster when I’m stuck on ideas for a paper. Even if its originally incoherent, I can get all of my thoughts out and then organize them into a hopefully above average essay with the music turned OFF.

Inspire Yourself: 


Watch an inspirational TED talk, read a book that stirs you, listen to music that pumps you up. Do a handstand to get the blood flowing to your brain (JK, please don’t hurt yourself).

Environment is Key:


Create the ideal space for focus and let your environment determine your attitude. Study during the time that is most ideal for you, whether that is early in the morning or late at night. I myself am a night owl who loves to use candles and have as many cups of herbal tea as needed. I also ensure that my study space is tidy, quiet, and the ideal temperature (which is usually a lot warmer than most people prefer because I am ALWAYS cold). I even take things like light into account because I’ve learnt that I cannot studying under white light, it has to be yellow (weird but completely relevant). Sometimes, chewing gum helps too, especially when trying to write or memorize notes. I’ve even heard that if you chew the same flavour of gum when you write your test, you will be able to remember things more easily. Try it out and see what works for you!

I hope that these points helped you in some way. I guess motivation involves an intricate balance between treating yourself and putting yourself to work. Trust me, I know that things can get really draining and stressful, especially during this time of the semester. But spring is in the air and I promise that you will adjust to daylight savings in no time. Keep your chin up, push forward, and remember, when sh!t happens, just turn it into fertilizer.

Niabi - YouAlberta Contributor

Niabi is a fourth year BA student double majoring in English and Spanish. She’s a relentless optimist, hazardously curious, and loves a good laugh (her friends would say that she has a juvenile sense of humour). When not jamming out to Reggaeton, you can find her trying to cuddle every dog she sees, or serving herself “eyes-are-too-big-for-your-stomach” helpings.

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