sunset over the st.lawrence

Study Tips Part Two: Motivation and Vacation

My last blog post was about study tips, specifically, how taking short breaks while studying are effective for getting my work done. This week I’m writing about taking longer breaks (taking the whole day off, or even a week!) and how this can improve your motivation to study.

I only really realized this year how effective taking some time off could be, and I don’t mean watching an hour of YouTube before I switch away from procrastination back to studying, I’m talking about a real break from the whole university lifestyle.

rock protruding into the ocean, at sunset.
A Change of scenery

We often get caught up in the small tasks we need to complete, and feel more stressed when that unfinished work is constantly in mind. University can feel go, go, go all the time, and being surrounded but an environment where all the students are feeling this way doesn’t help. I like to call this the “U of T Bubble.” I constantly find myself forgetting that there is a whole city outside my doorstep, that there are millions of people who are living different lives, who are not worrying about some unwritten essay. Focusing too closely on what I haven’t accomplished yet usually stops me from getting more work done, and I’ve found that opening my eyes to the bigger picture can get me back on track. Here are a couple of ways I avoid the U of T bubble of stress:

Take one day off a week. Planning ahead is key, but its worth it. Taking the full day off can be difficult when deadlines are approaching, however, if I plan wisely enough throughout the rest of the week, then it is definitely possible. Last year I tried to take my Sundays off. Sometimes I had to finish an essay, but a lot of the time it worked out because I had already allocated the work to another day!

Reading Week and Holidays. Most professors will tell you to play “catch up” during reading work, or they will assign MANY pages of reading. However, this is the perfect time for me to get away from school. Spending time with friends or getting out of the city can really change what I'm thinking about (aka not school work).

Visiting home. This might not be an option for everybody, but if you can visit home, then I think you should do it! Spending a couple days in my hometown always makes me realize how fun university can be.

If you can’t go home, you can still find a change of scenery. High Park and the Brick Works are accessible by subway and you don’t feel like you’re in the city anymore. If you don’t like being outside (or if its freezing out) I like to visit a museum. The ROM is close to campus and free for students on Tuesdays. The AGO is close by too, and student membership is free this year!

Art with friends!

Breaks with intention are the best motivator, and letting your mind take a break is worth it!

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