Queen's University Logo
IMPORTANT NOTICE Up-to-date COVID-19 information Click Here

Motivation mantra

By Tamar Ailenberg, 4th-year Bio/Psyc SSP

As a Yoga enthusiast, I have learned the importance of having a positive attitude. Whether you’re approaching something as a novice, intermediate or trained expert, it is important to not underestimate your abilities and consequentially psych yourself out.

Here are some useful tips and tricks to psych yourself in to studying!

Stress is good. Too much stress is bad.

So how do you manage that productful, motivating kind of anxiety and that overwhelmingly inhibiting kind? The answer is simple, but not always easy to put into practise: check it at the door.

Stress can be motivating to get you out of bed and into the library, or study place of choice, but once you’re there it should not enter the library or working zone with you. Try your best to focus on the course content instead of how worried you are for the exam.

Tie up loose ends.

If there is an extra-curricular you need to attend to, something else you need to do or a pressing e-mail you need to send, get it all done before you sit down to study. This way, you aren’t distracted by it during your study session. However, if you find that you can let it wait, it may be a good idea to leave it and attend to it on one of your study breaks – that way you are managing your distractions instead of your distractions managing you.

Have a mantra.

A mantra is a positive “I” statement to get you through our study session, such as “I am capable.” Just like in yoga, if course material seems too difficult, too overwhelming or if you’re simply feeling unmotivated, come back to your mantra and use it to replace your negative thoughts. It can also be helpful to think of another instance in which you were in a similar situation and overcame it.

“I shouldn’t have waited this long to start studying” “I know better than this” “I’m X years old and I’ve been in university for Y amount of years, why does this always happen??”. This may sound familiar to you, in fact, I would be surprised if you haven’t gotten to a point where you feel as if your work has built up to an unmanageable point and you should have done something beforehand to mitigate the inevitable stress.

Retrospectively, whatever reason you had in the past for not doing your work may seem silly to you now – but you have to remember that at the time it made sense.

Never look back and feel guilty for a place you are in now.

Instead, it is more productive to have a plan for now and reflect on how to strategize better in the future. I find that whenever I find myself in a time-crunch, I tell myself “whatever you do now, whatever you study or read or memorize, that’s one more thing than you knew before.”

There is no point dwelling on what you do not know with an exam you have coming up in two days. That won’t help you learn! If it’s even just one chapter in a book, one page of a lecture – at least you knew more than you did before!

Stay positive in the final crunch of school, and remember: no regrets and pysch yourself in to studying 🙂

Photo courtesy of Bruno Cordioli under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0.