Small things that slightly reduce my motivation slump
It’s been a bit of a while since I last posted here, but I think that’s representative of the slump I, and probably most other people, have been feeling. Week 7 of Lockdown three, and I am so lacking the motivation which is sort-of necessary if I actually want to do well in my final year. Who would have thought that the least motivated I’d ever feel in my degree would be in term two of my final year? But oh well, at least my teachers are mostly understanding and sympathetic to the challenges facing students right now. And having just finished my Reading-week, I am feeling somewhat less repulsed at the thought of doing university work. Which is a rather good thing, given the amount of coursework deadlines I am currently facing.
As a result, coming up with an idea for a blog has been a bit of challenge. To be honest, writing anything advisory seems so difficult right now, because, who am I to say what prospective students will experience at university next year? I mean, look at what the current first-years have put up with, and this time last year I was probably writing about how it will all be sorted by summer. However, today I thought I would share my experience with low motivation, and some things I have done to lessen the crushing weight of deadlines and pandemic dread 🙂
Plan: I’m a big planner, and I live for a completed to-do list, so I plan my days in advanced with everything I need to do for all my deadlines. Crossing off tasks I have completed gives me a will to live that I have not fully experienced since last March, which is helpful. Also, I prefer to work on a lot of things in a day, for a small amount of time, which means planning in advance all the different parts of the task I need to do each day, in order to submit it. If the thought of this disgusts you, then perhaps writing down everything you need to do in a week in a to-do list will help you and take some of the pressure to complete everything daily. My biggest advice for alleviating stress is really boring and nothing noteworthy but WRITE DOWN ALL YOUR DEADLINES. Stick them on your wall, and look at them regularly so you don’t get a horrible surprise. Also check Moodle regularly, because teachers can upload stuff randomly and without notice (love that for students x). Again, this is nothing wild, but it can just help to alleviate some of the stress of turning up to the seminar and being the only person to have not seen the pre-work.
Office hours: I’m really lucky that the languages department are lovely people, so I’m a big fan of going to office hours. Having a meeting with your tutor can just be very relieving, especially if they reassure that you’re on the right track, despite having not done any of the homework that month. Remember: as a teacher, they actually do know how well other people are doing, and so they can allay your fears that everyone else is smarter than you. Also, it’s important to consider that they were undergraduates too, and are probably grateful that they don’t have to do their degree in the circumstances we have to face, so they can be really reassuring. If you’re struggling with a module, reach out to your tutor. Likewise, if you’re struggling personally, have a meeting with your personal tutor or the senior tutor for your department. They’ll be happy to help, and to be honest, I’ve found that they really appreciate having an actual conversation with someone.
Do something else: One of my seminar tutors recently asked us to do something enjoyable, unrelated to our degree, every day, and I have wholeheartedly taken this on board (perhaps too far, but it is what it is). I’ve been reading a lot for pleasure, and watching TV with my flatmates so that I can escape the world for a bit. We are currently working our way through It’s A Sin on Channel 4, and it is fantastic, especially if, like me, you enjoy crying at things. I’ve also kept up running, as a way to fight the painfully low stepcounts that lockdown can cause, and also just spend time looking at something else other than my wall. My current favourite route is up past the Cryfield Pavilion and through Tocil Wood.
As I said at the top of this blog post, I currently have an easier approach to my degree than I have in the last four years (well, maybe the year abroad approach was easier) and I’m pretty okay with that.
Those are just some of the things helping me stay a solid 5.5/10, most of the time. Remember, fluctuation is normal, and believe me, I have definitely been both an 8/10 and a 2/10 in the last week. If you’re also below-average at the moment, then a lot of other bloggers have been writing about how to stay motivated and on top of work despite all the chaos, so I urge you to go read their blogs if you needed slightly-less pessimistic inspiration. As always, just focus on crawling to the end of term and the Easter holidays, and worry about summer exams in the future. Hopefully, this will all be resolved soon (lol 🙁 ).
With love,Catherine x