Staying motivated when you are studying from home!
Are you feeling unmotivated to study? Do you feel like there is no point in putting effort in right now because of the uncertainty of school re-openings and exams? The lockdown has certainly lowered morale which has had a knock-on effect on levels of motivation. It can be really difficult to transition from a school routine to home learning. Here are some tips that can help with finding that motivation to study and revise at home!
What is Motivation?
Motivation lies within our psychological mechanisms- to have a ‘motive’ means that we as individuals have needs, desires, wants and drives to achieve a goal. The motivation gives individuals reason to carry out an action to achieve it.
Therefore the first step in gaining motivation is to have an end goal that you can then work towards to achieve. So how do you start?
Step 1: Become Philosophical
Ask yourself why you need to study? What is the purpose of it? The biggest question right now is why would you spend your time and effort revising for something that is not happening or you are unsure is taking place i.e. school re-opening or exams? To answer this question you have to step into the future and think about where you are right now and where you want to be in your educational journey? If you were supposed to be completing your GCSE examinations but that did not happen, perhaps you still want to be up to date with the syllabus and aspects that you are unsure of in order to be prepared for any assessments that may occur or to ensure your knowledge is complete. If you were supposed to be completing your A-Levels that determined your place at university but this is no longer happening then you can use this opportunity to see if there were some aspects of the modules you could understand better. If one of your A-level subjects is also your chosen degree then brushing up on the discipline can only be beneficial. Perhaps you were not in a crucial exam stage of your education but you still want to be prepared for the next year and not feel like you have missed out and created big gaps in your study.
Why do you need to study? There are many reasons; have a think about it and find the best answer for you.
Step 2: What is your belief? Turn it into a goal!
Thinking about why you should study and revise at home leads to beliefs about your future. For example:
Or I believe that if I spend even 1 hour a day on maths then I will be less confused by equations and factors.
These beliefs can now create tangible and achievable long-term goals. For example:
‘I want to revise the syllabus for maths because there are some areas that are confusing and I want to ensure that I understand them’
These goals give you an ‘end point’. You have created a personal goal at a time when an endpoint may not be so visible right now. This goal gives you something to work towards- a motive!
Step 3: What are the actions you will take?
Now you have a goal, there need to be actions outlined that will help you achieve this. Since it is specific to you, calculated steps should be in place. Let us take an example above:
Goal: ‘I want to revise the syllabus for maths because there are some areas that are confusing and I want to ensure that I understand them’
Action: Spend 2 hours a day revising maths, start at the beginning of the syllabus. Take notes for 1 hour then try to do a corresponding exam question in order to see if you understand it. Spend 1 week on chapter 1 then move on.
This is an example of how an action can directly lead to achieving the goal you set for yourself. This can also include a deadline you made for yourself so that you do not become stuck in one area. Another thing to realise is that a lot of this time at home may be trial and error, you may spend a long time trying to figure out what times of the day your brain works the best! It does not have to be 9am-3pm. Find out what suits you! Also it might help if you find a spot to study that is not your bed.
Learning to Learn
You may not feel like it but studying from home is providing you with the best opportunity to ‘learn how to learn.’ You are developing key skills that are valuable to your educational and career journey. Through making a schedule, goals and actions for yourself you are excelling in independent study skills. Setting your own deadlines and balancing different subjects develops good time management skills. Additionally, you can develop your research skills and revising allows you to successfully condense a high volume of information. So your skills, which can be added to your CV (for careers) and personal statement (for higher education), are being put into practice and you may not even be aware of it!
Finally - Stay Positive!! Attitude can play a crucial role in deflating motivation- obviously you cannot be like this all the time so it is important to find what makes you happy and ensure you care for your mental as well as physical wellbeing. If you find that chatting with your friends is what you need then make sure you take time out to do this. If you want to sit in the garden and do nothing then also take breaks to do this- you cannot study all the time! Try to keep your goal in mind in order to feel motivated to achieve this through your actions- only you can do it and feel great in doing so, whether you feel the benefits now or in the future!
Shamsa Khan, Higher Education Liaison Officer