How To Carry Your Start Of Semester Motivation Through To The Very End


Want more Junkee in your life? Sign up to our newsletter, and follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook so you always know where to find us.

We haven’t quite lost the shiny motivation that kicked off second semester a week ago, but we can feel it start to dull pretty quickly.

Each time we scan our eye down the depressingly packed course outline, or get assigned to yet another group project, the urge to hide under our doona and binge on Netflix becomes stronger and stronger.

But don’t give in just yet! We still have a chance to grab that wide-eyed optimism and ride it through to the end of the semester. Here’s our tips on how.

#1 Change Your Thinking

Before we get started with practical tips, it helps to look at what motivated us in the first place.

Just like bringing in a New Year, the start of semester mindset comes about from marking a new beginning. It’s a really nice way for our brains to kick things into gear. The downside is that it wears off pretty quickly.

In order to turn your motivation from a week-long feeling to a semester-long marathon, try changing how you think about uni. As the people at Forbes pointed out, swapping “I have to” for “I choose to” does wonders to your ability to approach tasks with a fresh perspective.

#2 Set Up An Iron-Clad Routine

Like, seriously watertight. Block out a bunch of study times throughout your week that are just as important and frequent as your part-time work shifts. Have a look at your uni and work schedule, and fit your dedicated study times within the gaps. Make them well spread out and short enough so they’ll never get too laborious.

Tell your parents, your siblings, your partner and your friends to make sure they don’t interrupt you. In fact, why not take advantage of your start of semester motivation by making up a cute timetable? Colour code it, cover it with stickers and stick it in your (well maintained) diary.

Just like you wouldn’t call in sick to a shift at work (unless you were actually sick), you can’t bludge on your study time.

#3 Make A List Of Goals (That Are Actually Realistic)

Don’t tease us for getting all ~new age~. There’s some actual science behind visualising your goals. For starters, writing down a proper list helps to solidify goals in your brain, as well as serve as a daily reminder what all your hard work is moving towards.

#4 Trick Yourself Into New Deadlines

One of the worst things about losing motivation is that procrastination that replaces it. The mindset of “I’ll get to it tomorrow” slowly creeps up and before you know it, you’re sweating bullets of Redbull at 3am trying to smash out a last-minute assignment.


A good way to ensure you never procrastinate to a dangerous degree is by setting your own personal deadlines. Write a date two or three days before the actual deadline in your diary and challenge yourself to meet it. Not only will it mean you don’t have to stay up all night, it means you have time to actually go through and edit it afterwards.

#5 Take Pride In Every Mark

We’re talking about in-class assignments that don’t even count towards your final grade.  As the people over at Lifehacker pointed out: “To stay motivated, you need to recognise your progress, not merely track it”.

Acknowledge your own hard work. If you’re regularly giving yourself a pat on the back for effort, you’re going to keep trying harder and harder.

Impress no one but yourself, boo. No one but yourself.

#6 Think Of The Sweet, Sweet Reward

The method of rewarding yourself when you do good things is real. It’s one thing that makes us very similar to animals.

Nothing says motivation like the possibility of a treat. Perhaps it’s something you’d usually feel guilty about buying, or something your parents promised you. Maybe it’s the idea of getting to go on a trip. Keep that pending reward in mind throughout every boring lecture and tute. Remind yourself that it’s so, so worth it.

(Lead image: Billy Madison/Happy Madison)