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How to Boost Your Motivation (Exam Season Edition)

Daylight savings is over and it's getting dark at 4:30pm, *sigh*. But on the bright side — we're closer to the winter break!

Reading week can be a crucial time for many people to catch up on their pending lectures, assignments, etc., but it is also a week for many to finally take a break, rest and recharge. I rested for 70% of that week and didn't do much. But, I noticed that when school resumed the week after, I felt extremely sluggish and unmotivated.

The reason why this happened is I suddenly broke a routine and my body was essentially confused because of the odd sleep cycle and also the anxiety of the big final destination to face — the final examinations.

How did I get out of the slump? Here are some things that helped me and might help you, too!

  1. Count down 3, 2, 1...
    I use this method when I already have my to-do list made but anxiety is making me procrastinate by doing other less important things to avoid doing that task. Instead of thinking about the 'pain' that the task might cause you, a simple countdown of '3, 2, 1' and then getting up as soon as the countdown is over and starting the task is a huge benefit. I might not complete the task immediately, but at least I started and made myself familiar with it. I tend to feel less anxious once I start a task and feel motivated to keep working on it until I am actually bored.
  2. Change your environment
    Hey, it's cold, I know. But staying cooped up in your apartment and trying to study at the same desk may make your work feel monotonous. Try exploring the different libraries at U of T, nearby cafés, and other study spots featured on our Life at U of T Instagram page.
  3. Attend one of Student Life's #ExamReadyUofT events that can help you get prepared and face uncertainty, with workshops that discuss combatting procrastination, academic goal setting, and strategies to de-stress.
  4. Move your body
    A 10-minute walk around your neighbourhood, a short sprint on the treadmill, or simply stretching in between study sessions will help avoid any neck strains or posture issues that often persist with constant deskwork. I personally have the worst neck and shoulder pain since when I am not studying, as both my jobs involve editing and I am always hunched over my screen. I also started lifting weights in the summer and have noticed a significant change in my back pain. If you are a beginner who might be interested in weight training, Hart House holds a number of sessions with higher discounts for students.
Photo of a rowing machine and a person's legs
Trying out the rowing machine at the gym!

As always, feel free to DM us on the Life at U of T Instagram account if you're looking for more resources and we'll point you in the right direction.

– Piya

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