The end of the semester is almost here! And I don’t know about y’all but I tend to have a lack of energy and lose some of my motivation towards the end of every semester. The projects pile up, the exams are day after day, and you’re staying up late with your group mates to finish the project you have to present the morning after. It’s not like I want to trip and fall towards the end of the finish line but it’s hard to keep your head on straight. And if you feel the same way too, don’t worry! During my time at UF, I have developed a few ways to keep myself motivated and focused on finishing the semester strong and I think y’all might find these tips helpful too!
When Studying For Exams/ Final Projects:
1)Turn Off Notifications
Now while I have been told to do this by many people, I didn’t start using this trick until I watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix (It’s a documentary about how social media is addictive and how its been made with nefarious purposes but we can discuss that another day). Ever since watching that documentary, I started noticing how distracting they can be. I’ll get a YouTube notification about a new video and then realize that I wasted two hours watching videos. But I’ve never wanted to turn them off because I feared missing a call or text from a family member in trouble. Or I would think that something amazing would have happened and I missed out on it. But to overcome this somewhat irrational fear, I started to use the digital well-being feature on my phone. This allows me to mute all or most notifications on apps, messages, and phone calls during a certain time. And even if there is an emergency I only allow calls from certain contacts, that way someone can get in touch with me. If you already do this then two thumbs up to you. But if you don’t, please try to utilize any digital-wellbeing or notification-blocking app you have.
2) Be Honest With Yourself
I can’t sit at my desk for 3 hours and focus on one assignment. I just can’t do it. I usually work or study for at least 1-2 hours (and it’s usually an hour and a half) and then I take a short break. For me, this works because I know that if I force myself to continuously write a paper or study for an exam, I’m going to get annoyed and browse my phone, or I’m going to become distracted and put off the assignment, And sometimes it’s hard for me to sit down 30 minutes and work on an assignment because I’m distracted or not alert enough to work on it. So, if I can, I do something else or just take a small break until I feel ready to do it. The point is if you don’t have the energy or motivation to give your full, undivided attention to a task, don’t force yourself to do it. Do what works for you. If you can sit hours on end completing multiple tasks, hats off to you. But if you can’t, then find out what method work for you
3) Schedule Time Blocks for Your Assignments/Studying Time and Stick to Them
I started using this tip this semester and picked it up from a course I’m taking now (Professional Selling). It’s bascially reserving multiple time slots in the day to complete different tasks. So for example, if I have class every Tuesday from 2 pm – 4 pm, afterward, I’m going to work on one assignment from 4:30-5:30. Then I’ll work on a different assignment from 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm. And I’ll have my schedule set like this every Tuesday. I didn’t think this method would work because there are so many unexpected things that can pop up so, I didn’t think it was too realistic to set time slots for tasks and assignments. But this has been one of the most helpful things that I’ve done. If you have an extremely busy schedule I understand if this one’s a little difficult to follow. To try to ease into this method, rather than set up time blocks for the week, I would do it for 2 or 3 days. And if I followed the schedule, then I would plan out the next few days. I think this method works for me because sometimes I would give myself more time than I needed for an assignment but then end up finishing it earlier than I expected. So this has been one of my favorite methods for studying/ completing assignments.
4) Have a change in Environment
Whenever I have an important exam to study for, I sometimes stay in my room at my desk to focus. But sometimes, I need to get away from my desk and study somewhere else. I’m not sure why, but I always find that whenever I’m studying at a coffee shop, outside on a bench, or any place that’s not in my room at my desk, I find myself more relaxed and focused. I think it’s because studying in a stuffy room makes me feel more pressured to finish assignments or retain information I need for an exam. But when I’m out at a relaxed, uncrowded place and the vibe is right, I feel less inclined to stress out. But of course, this depends on which place you choose to study from. But if I know I wanna stay, for example, at a coffee shop for a long time to get a lot of work done, I usually go to one that’s away from campus (fewer students and people in general but I still love my fellow gators) and I try to make it there 30 minutes-1 hour after the shop opens so I can get a good spot. That might be overdoing it a little but I swear by this tactic!
So that’s what I usually do to power through the end-of-semester blues. If some of these were already obvious or I missed some tips that are helpful for you, then let me know in the slack channel! No matter what your method is for studying or completing assignments for the end of the semester, just know that you can finish the semester off strong. You’re not alone in feeling completely stressed and worn out, so don’t be hard on yourself. Take care and see y’all at Thursday’s meeting!