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26 June 2021

How to get – and keep – your study mojo

Welcome to Trimester 2/Semester 2! For most students, motivation comes easily at the start of a new study period, when everything is new and fresh, you’re excited to meet your teachers and classmates, and you’re full of energy and ambition to learn.

But what happens as the weeks pass, assignments start to pile up and you begin to feel the pressure of juggling multiple tasks? The novelty of uni life has worn off a little, while shorter days and colder weather can also slow you down.

This study period also brings with it the new experience of blended learning for some of you. While you may be eager to head to campus for more face-to-face learning activities, managing on-campus and online learning means you need to be extra organised and prepared.

So how can you stay motivated and on track? The key is managing your time effectively and finding the right balance. 

Mix it up

Try to break up long periods of study. Intensive blocks of two hours or so work well, spaced out with short breaks. If you feel your momentum slowing down, switch to a different task or do some exercise to clear your head.

Make full use of your campus too! Staying connected to the Deakin community is an important part of your learning success. Catch up on online seminars or schedule some study blocks at the library or the other study spaces across our beautiful campuses. Or, why not arrange to meet up with some friends at uni for lunch and book a meeting room to study together?

Create a schedule

weekly planner divided into one-hour blocks helps you to plan your studies and stick to your tasks. Include things like classes, chores, extracurricular activities, part-time work, free time and study sessions. For each study session, write a to-do list of key tasks you want to get done.

It’s also important to attend your timetabled face-to-face classes – despite the temptation to procrastinate or watch recordings in the wee hours! There’s heaps of benefits from group learning that will help you to stay motivated and accountable.

Get to know your body clock

Different people work better at different times of the day, whether it be morning, afternoon or night. So do what works best for you. If you know you’re not a morning person, don’t tackle that difficult essay question at 8am. Leave the most challenging tasks for your best time of the day and do something less demanding, like organising notes or writing the next day’s to-do list, during your least favourite time of the day.

Minimise distractions

Does your mind wander while you study? Distractions often come from internal feelings that we can control, such as hunger or tiredness. Make sure you get enough sleep each night and have snacks nearby during a study session.

Minimise distractions like social media by logging out of your accounts and try putting your phone in another room while you’re studying so you’re not disrupted by messages, calls or notifications.

Don’t leave things to the last minute

Procrastinating is an easy trap to fall into, but it just puts you under unnecessary pressure. Try to do some study on most days of the week – even if it’s only one or two hours – so you don’t end up with a mountain of work to catch up on. Go over all your class notes each week to make sure you understand what’s been covered and to keep the ideas you’ve learned front-of-mind. When it comes to exams, you’ll be better equipped and able to reduce your exam study time.

Put yourself first

It’s easy to get caught up in your study when the assignments are piling up. But you need to find the right uni-life balance, especially after missing out on fun stuff during lockdowns and times of increased restrictions. Remember the ‘everything in moderation’ mantra, and take time to do things you love and that make you feel good. Self-care is crucial, and so is seeking help if you need it.

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