July is here and if you are enrolled in summer courses you know that means there is only 20+ days until classes are over. The allure of not having to sit in a lecture hall or a classroom may be getting to you and you may find yourself becoming easily distracted or not putting as much effort as you did before into your work.
This is common and happens to new and seasoned students alike. It is especially applicable to mature and part-time students who have so many other things going on in their lives. This is when you need to stop and remind yourself why you’re attending university in the first place and ask why you chose to enroll in the courses you are in.
Even if you aren’t taking classes in the summer this post still applies to you because you will find yourself approaching that hump during the school year.
There are several ways to get over the academic hurdle:
Looking at the end
I’ve already touched on this in the “Convocation and What it Means” post. Keeping graduation in mind is a good way to motivate you. Another way to keep you going is to do some research into what career perspectives are available for the degree you are working towards. Nothing puts pep in your step than knowing what you would like to do with the degree you have under belt. The York U Career Centre is a great place to start when trying to distinguish what your end goal is with your schooling.
Write it down
Write down your goals. What do you hope to accomplish at the end of the course? Maybe you wish you had a better understanding of the material being covered. That isn’t going to happen with you sitting in class with a glazed look on your face and pushing the material out of your mind. There's a saying 'out of mind, out of sight.' Keep your notes and coursework in view, it will motivate you and remind you of the things you need to get done.
It’s good to write down your goals at the beginning of each course and near the halfway point. You’ll have a better idea of what you need to work on.
Try a new approach
The way you are attacking your coursework may need a bit of shake. Trying something different may help to bring interest back into the material you’re learning. For instance: when you were doing your readings before you might have just been highlighting the material. This time around, try jotting down terms that you find interesting or making diagrams to connect ideas that are similar.
Perhaps you need to change up where you’ve been studying. If you can no longer find yourself focusing on school material at home then maybe you need to stay a few minutes after class to go to the library. If the library isn’t working then you can try a coffee shop or a community centre.
Find something of interest
It’s no surprise that we find ourselves eager to learn about things that peak our curiousity. Find out what stirs that inquisitive bone in your body. Once you find it, investigate it. Use it as something to drive you to finish up the rest of the coursework.
This same idea needs to be applied when writing assignments and final essays. Write about topics that you’re drawn to. I find that I’m drawn to essay topics that challenge me and make me dig for information. They may be a little more difficult than others, but in the process I learn new things that are applicable to the course.
Take a breather
Make sure you have some relaxation time and I don’t mean time that you waste i.e. hopping on the computer and tinkering with Facebook or computer games. I mean taking some time to do something constructive like reading a few pages from that novel you’ve been meaning to flip through, or going outside to take a long walk with family or some friends. York’s recreational centre offers classes in Yoga, Pilates, dance, etc. Exercise like that gets your mind off of studying and leaves you feeling rejuvenated. Stimulate your brain with other things to keep your spirit up.