Worry about worries. Almost every day they accompany you. Week after week. Every semester again. At your side, they haunt your head. Sometimes they only produce a faint noise that you hardly notice in everyday life. But every now and then they scream so loud that you let them take you by surprise and lose all your courage.
Before I came to university, I had no idea how exhausting studying can be. For me, “studying” meant freedom at that time. Carefree life, free time scheduling and little work. All the usual clichés and prejudices that existed at that time had burned a non-realistic picture of typical student life into my head.
When was the last time you woke up in the morning and thought, “Great, today is Uni!”?
Today? Yesterday? Two years ago?
If this positive mood rarely flashes on you or you can not remember when you last enjoyed your studies, it’s time to change. And something fundamental. I do not mean that you should stop your studies on the spot and burn all the documents – that’s not the point.
I’m talking about small changes that have a big impact. Positive, constructive habits that help you to see your studies from a different angle. Some only happen in your head; others are based on small actions that bring new impetus to your student life. But they have one thing in common: they are simple to implement and essential for a happy study.
What you can actually do, I’ll show you in this article.
You can do that if your studies are no fun anymore
Studying is not always fun – no question. Studying can be demanding, exhausting and at times even monotonous. However, if you are going to be unmotivated for a long time and no longer enjoy yourself thinking about the university, you have to react. The following ten tips will help you.
Tip # 1: Analyze your situation!
Before you jump to conclusions and curse your studies, you should take a look at the facts: Where are you currently in your studies? What have you achieved so far – and what not? What are your current challenges? And how can they be solved? Is it in your power? Which parameters play an important role in your student life?
First, gather all the information that could affect your emotional state. Do not be overwhelmed by spontaneous impulses, otherwise you run the risk of being led astray by subjective impressions or trifles. Only when your situation is clear can you make an effort to improve it.
Tip # 2: Arrange your thoughts!
Do you know what happens when you take a closer look at your studies and reflect on your current situation? You are confusing at first. And neat. Thousands of new thoughts and different future scenarios take place in your mind’s eye. All this does not contribute to reassurance – quite the contrary.
Therefore, in a second step, you should bring order and structure into your thoughts. And that works best when you write down your thoughts. Write down all sorts of ideas that come to your mind during your analysis. Write down everything. Even if it is inaccurate, double and cheesy. Everything. After that, you can sort and rate your thoughts on paper. In this article, I introduce you to a suitable method to do so.
Tip # 3: Name your problems!
Once your thoughts are unraveled and your mind is clear, you can tackle an important but equally unpleasant task: naming your (potential) problems. The most common reason why students study against the wall is an unspoken problem. These students do not want to admit their own problems or weaknesses and continue to do so (wrongly!) Until there is no going back.
So be honest with yourself, take a deep breath and think about where you can improve to bring more fun to your studies. It is often enough if you clearly point out time and energy robbers in your life and derive possible problems from them. Ask yourself what actions or qualities of yours will cause you to end up in dire situations. How and when do you make life difficult for yourself? And what could you do instead? Only when the enemies are known in the study, you can do something against them.
Tip # 4: Question your goals!
Many students are NOT satisfied with their studies because they set the wrong goals. They chase after something they can never reach, or find that they lose the emotional connection to their goals. The problem is that your preferences and needs may change over time. However, if you continue to cling to your old goals, you automatically become unhappy.
A promising way to bring more fun and motivation into your studies is therefore to question your current goals and to correct them if necessary. Ask yourself what you – as of today – would like to achieve in your studies. Why are you studying? What should your studies give you? What would you like to remember later? Try to give your studies a new direction with new goals. In this article, I give you more suggestions.
Tip # 5: Put a gear!
A proven remedy, for new impulses in the study is the increase of your speed. Take a walk and study, work and live faster than usual. This will bring more action into your student life – and probably more fun as well. It’s not about overstraining you, it’s about trying out more things and crossing personal boundaries.
For example, you can get up an hour earlier tomorrow and use the time gained for your favorite hobby. Or you start a new habit and learn to sprint for five minutes every day for a specific subject from your studies. Alternatively, you can take additional courses, prefer modules or write three extra exams this semester. It is only important that you take up speed and thereby spark a new dynamic in your studies.
Tip # 6: Step on the brakes!
Speed is one thing – but it works differently. If your studies overwhelmed you at the current time and you do not know any more about your to-dos, where your head is, it’s worth a little deceleration. Step on the brakes and take the wind out of the sails of the threatening task tsunami. Study slower. Do not stop, just slow down.
You can, for example, clear out your calendar, change your course of study individually or, in case of doubt, take a leave semester. Maybe you enjoy a short vacation or a semester abroad – the main thing is that you retain control of your studies and take a ride. As soon as you have found your speed of well-being and feel fit enough again, you can get back into gear (see tip # 5). But everything in his time.
Tip # 7: Look outside the box!
Most courses are interesting. But at least since the Bologna reform, the trend for exclusively subject-specific subjects and efficient course plans prevails. This often means that students are filled with monotonous teaching. Variation: no indication. From semester 1 to 6 or 10 – there is always the same. Therefore, it is not surprising that many of your fellow students have motivation problems.
Fun looks different, but you can do something about it. With a little initiative and planning skills, you can incorporate new impulses and individual diversity into your studies. For example, take classes that are not part of your degree program, learn a new, exotic language, or get involved in a higher education body (Student Union, AStA, Examination Board). The possibilities are limitless – you just have to search, pack and try them.
Tip # 8: Change your environment!
Sustainable change usually happens from the inside out, from one’s own. Nevertheless, your closer environment has a great influence on your mood and satisfaction. It can therefore pay off for you if you regularly put your environment to the test and make deliberate adjustments. This does not just mean that you should paint your kitchen in a different color or change your desk – I also speak of people.
When did you last think deeply about your previous friendships? What about your partner or your classmates? Which persons mean something to you? Who can you rely on? Who gives you strength – and who does not? Maybe it’s time to build new relationships or leave behind old “acquaintances”.
Tip # 9: Check your expectations!
In the study it is like in the real life: If expectations and reality diverge, one feels unhappy and dissatisfied. Therefore, you should make it a habit to check your own expectations regularly. As a study advisor, I experience many students whose expectations of themselves are far too high. They demand things of themselves that they can never reach – and thus destroy their own happiness in study.
So lately, if you had little fun studying, you might expect too much of yourself. So ask yourself if your goals are realistic (see Tip # 4) and how far your own claims will help you make the most of your student life. Particularly perfectionist-tempted people tend to set their own high standards – but this can not be good in the long term, so you should take countermeasures early.
Tip # 10: Take another path!
Sometimes small changes and course corrections are no longer enough to bring new drive to your studies. In these cases, you are in a dead end – with your head to the wall. It can not continue. The only way out now is to take a few steps back and take a new path. Relative to your studies, this means that if your current study situation does not continue, you need to think about Plan B.
In the most extreme case, this may result in a change of course or university. Maybe even a change of module or a new choice of your specialization is enough. You may need to use other learning techniques or tear yourself away from negative and destructive classmates. Whatever it is, change hurts in the beginning, but if you think it over, it will (almost) always improve your situation.
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