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What If You Have a Lack of Discipline to Study?

Posted on August 12, 2016 by Justin Maynard

lack of discipline

Are you having trouble getting into the swing of things this semester? Sometimes the transition from break time to class time can be a hard one and students may have a lack of discipline to hunker down and hit the books.

If you’re having a case of post-summer laziness, what should you do?

Here are some tips to kick you back into study gear:

Write down your goals

Keeping perspective on why you’re in school and what your goals are can help you get that motivation back. Make a list of both your short term and long-term goals. Include your GPA goals for that semester and the steps you need to take in each class in order to achieve that. For example, maybe you’re doing fine in Economics but falling behind in English Lit. What can you do to pull your grades up in that course? It could be meeting with your professor and getting advice from him/her. Or hiring a tutor. Don’t just name a problem- come up with a proactive solution. Make a list of long term goals too. What’s your dream career? Are the efforts you’re making today helping you to get there? What do you need to do today to support your vision of your future?


Watch inspiring films

Films that show someone’s dedication to a project or an idea can help inspire you to step up your game:


Jobs – The film follows the relentlessly driven Apple engineer Steve Jobs from his college days at Reed University to the essential turning point in the Apple business he founded decades earlier.


Dead Poets Society – A classic film with Robin Williams as the teacher who instills curiosity and passion in the students at a conservative New England boarding school.


The Theory of Everything – The story of Stephen Hawking as a brilliant university student during the onset of his disease which will change his life but not diminish his contributions to the field of physics and their impact on humanity.


The Great Debaters – A film by Denzel Washington about an unprecedented debate between Wiley College (an all-black college) and Harvard University in the 1930s. Intellectually stimulating and inspiring film.


Make a schedule

Okay, you’re pumped up and inspired after writing down your goals and watching some inspiring movies. Now is the time to set the wheels in motion. Grab a sheet of paper or open Google Calendar and start making your study schedule. Include your class times, due dates for projects and papers and final exam dates. Mark any other obligations such as clubs, sports and jobs. Figure out which times are the best times for you to study for your classes. Mark that time as sacred. Just as you can’t blow off your job or fail to show up for practice, you also have to show up for your study hours. Set an alert on your phone to remind you of study times. Set timers to keep you on track until your study session is over.


Get a study partner

It can help keep you motivated and on point if you choose someone to study with. Make sure that person is motivated and won’t try to convince you to head outside and play hacky-sack when you have a final exam tomorrow. A study partner can hold you accountable when you start to go off course and can help remind you of your goals and responsibilities.


Join a study group

Not as intimate as a study partner, but a study group can help make sure you’re up to date on all the class material and give you fresh perspectives on subjects that you may not have considered on your own. A great way to inspire intellectual dialogue that you can use as arguments in papers and on exams.


Reward yourself

If you’ve done a good job this semester and kept your grades up, make sure to reward yourself! It can help motivate you through the long hours of studying to know that you’ll be able to treat yourself to tickets to a sporting event or concert, or a new computer or whatever it takes to keep your motivation high.

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