Defying the odds: let’s get motivated!

Starting university can be one of the most exciting, enjoyable and opportunistic moments in your life. Though sometimes keeping that morale high can be a bit of a struggle, especially if you’re trying to muster up the courage to go to a 9am after a night at the LCR (we’ve all been there!).

Luckily, there are always experienced students to lend a helping hand in how to force yourself to throw away the duvet and get stuck into University life. Whether it be writing essays, attending lectures, or just maintaining a social life it can be a bit of a balancing act.

Make life easier and throw yourself into a range of activities outside of your degree – just make sure you don’t take on more than you can handle! I learnt the hard way that joining 5 societies, 2 sports teams and trying to get a part time job was virtually impossible on top of lectures and essays, and that’s okay.

Of course join societies and sports clubs that interest you – in fact I’d say this is one of the best things you can do to keep yourself motivated, because we all need time to let off some steam and have fun. However keep that list of societies and sports to a select few… and stick with them! It’s a great way to expand your social circles as well as giving you some well-deserved down time.

As well as taking a break to get involved in social activities, set some goals to strive towards. I found the jump from A Levels to university quite daunting when I first arrived, and needless to say I was slightly underwhelmed when I got my first graded essay back.

The realisation hit me that nobody is going to walk into University and get firsts right off the bat, it takes a lot of hard work but it’s definitely achievable if you’re willing to put the work in! I decided to set myself realistic goals throughout the year targeted at gradual improvement and progression.

Rather than getting downhearted that I wasn’t the next Einstein, I was actively achieving my goals and fulfilling myself with a sense of pride in my achievements which motivated me to keep bettering myself and achieving that next goal.

Setting these goals also helped me focus on the bigger picture and why I decided to go to university in the first place. If you find yourself in a bit of a motivational slump, consider the reasons that you jumped for joy when you opened UCAS track and saw your acceptance letter.

Think about your future career, and how everything you will do in the next three years will be helping you get there.

Even if you don’t quite know yet what you want to do for a job, everything you’re learning and experiencing at university is valuable to your future and development- not to mention it’s also really fun and doesn’t last forever, so make the most of it!

One of the best ways to make the most of your Uni life is to stay positive. Taking a pessimistic outlook can leave you feeling a little deflated. I often found myself demotivated when I compared my achievements to the others around me.

So rather than looking at your friend’s grades or the fact that your flatmate made the football team, focus on what you want to achieve and try new things. If you didn’t quite get the grade you want, focus on the ways you can develop it next time and take feedback into consideration to better yourself. Set yourself goals and take small steps to reach them, do it at your own pace and to your own ability. The key to self-motivation is focussing on you!

As much as maintaining a positive mental attitude towards your degree is important, one of the most essential things to keeping motivated and focussed is having a great group of friends to help you through. Keep yourself surrounded with motivated people that you can turn to when things get a bit too much and have fun with.

Having a strong support network has been one of my main motivators at UEA, simply because my friends are there to give me a bit of positive reinforcement when I need it. Grab a few friends, go to a new sport or have a group study session in the library, there’s a whole new life at university waiting for you, go and explore it!


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May 2022
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The University of East Anglia’s official student newspaper. Concrete is in print and online.

If you would like to get in touch, email the Editor on L.Hargreaves@uea.ac.uk. Follow us at @ConcreteUEA.