Year 10 Matrix Scholarship student, Grace Zhu, attends Presbyterian Ladies’ College Sydney. She hopes to study a science related degree in University which motivates her to complete her studies effectively. Grace shares her tips on how she maintains her motivation.
Grace’s Study Tips
Studying isn’t easy.
You may find yourself scrolling endlessly through websites about study tips, hoping you will find the secret to motivation somewhere amongst the tabs you have opened up. Or maybe you’ve already decided that you have given up all hope to study for that test tomorrow, when you’re meant to study for it today.
Whenever I used to read study tips, I would come across commands like ‘Don’t procrastinate’ or ‘Stay motivated’. However, there is almost never a mention of why motivation is important, why we don’t feel motivated at times or simply where motivation comes from in the first place.
The reason why motivation is such an issue with studying is due to the misconception of its meaning. Long-term motivation isn’t something that can be conjured up with one inspirational quotation, or inspirational music you find on YouTube. Rather, motivation should be understood as something that varies with each and every person, because ideas that may motivate one person will have little effect on another.
We all have different goals and different ideals of success, so it only makes sense that we use different steps to motivate ourselves. For example, I am a person driven by the end results of my actions and efforts. Before I start a project, I think of the final benefits that will result from hard work, and the potential of the possibilities is what drives me forward. However, another person may be more motivated by personal growth, or their own definition of success. Basically, before you start something, you should question why you do it, and what you wish to achieve, in order to have a clear vision of what you need to do.
It is also important to recognise the important link between motivation and habits. Your habits, when it comes to studying, are critical. Habits, even as simple as switching your phone off when you study, pay off in the long run. This is because these small steps are progress towards maintaining clear vision and motivation, as they prevent small distractions or hindrances that may lead you astray.
If you make it a habit to study in a certain way, studying becomes more routine and less of an endless maze, meaning greater productivity and achievement.
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When you acknowledge to yourself that you are unmotivated to complete a task, you are then able to realise that something is affecting you. This will enable you to move forward and change your current attitude.
2. Work Out What is Affecting Your Motivation
This can be hard, because sometimes when we are unmotivated and procrastinate, we think it’s “just-because”. However, this feeling may be a warning sign from your mind and body. Typically, when we feel unmotivated it’s not just because we’re lazy or don’t feel like it; it’s rather due to the fact that we are failing to understand ourselves.
What is really happening is that your brain is telling you that there’s something wrong with your study habits, or there’s something wrong with your approach to your end goals. This should be the point where you allow yourself some time to reconsider you attitudes and your ideals of success, so that you have a clear goal to strive towards.
The trap that many fall into is to keep on mindlessly trudging through work with no direction.
This often results in not only the lack of motivation, but a lack of productivity and the diminished ability to reach your full potential.
In my view, students are often misunderstood when they are not studying every second of every minute of the day. It is often thought that those who enjoy their down time aren’t staying ahead and will inevitably fall behind in their subjects. However, think about the reason why we have holidays and weekends. Technically speaking, students could learn more and cover more material if school was held every day of the year. Yet in reality this wouldn’t work, as people need rest in order to remain productive.
After you have realised what is affecting you, try to change your attitude and habits! If you struggle with time management, creating a schedule for yourself is a great start. Make sure that your schedule is feasible, and that you know it’s something you can stick to – don’t forget to give yourself the free time that you deserve! Progressively allocate tasks that you know you can complete within a set time-frame.
I find that there is greater satisfaction knowing that you have completed these tasks, and that you can provide yourself with direction, rather than sitting by the computer for hours and being unproductive.
3. Change Your Ways!
A final and very important factor for motivation is sleep. As adolescents we should be getting 8-10 hours of sleep. So if you wake up for school at 7am, you would need to be asleep by 11pm at the latest! This may sound ridiculous with the hectic schedules that we as students face on a daily basis, but sleep is a non-negotiable part of a successful lifestyle.
My advice is to start adjusting your routine and take these small steps. Small steps and changes will eventually become habits over time. This is because studying isn’t something that can be perfected; it is a constant learning process. It is an essential skill that will determine the success of your future, and is something that can be improved through constant trial and error. Every person is different, so don’t feel burdened to follow another person’s schedule or strategy.
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