How to Keep Yourself Motivated as a Grad Student 

 December 12, 2019

When
you embark on a graduate degree programme, you usually do so filled with
excitement about the information that you are about to learn and the many
opportunities that it’s going to lead you to. However, over time, as you start
to get into your programme more, facing the realities of university demands,
demands at work and a hectic schedule that you feel you are always working
against, you might have found that some of your motivation has slipped. The
good news is that no matter what advanced degree you are studying for, or how
long you’ve got left to go before you finally achieve your goal, staying
motivated doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are some top tips to keep in mind.

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#1. Put Your Health
and Wellness First

Working hard is great, of course – but
there needs to be a line drawn when it comes to your own health, wellness and
sanity. If you’re working yourself to a point where you are burning the candle
at both ends trying to juggle both your degree and career with family and
personal life, you’re going to find yourself burned out pretty quickly – and
that’s not a good recipe for motivation. If you’re regularly losing sleep,
skipping meals and forgetting to exercise, your grades are likely to slip no
matter how much hard work you put in; you simply won’t be able to focus as well
as you could. Ensure you’re putting your health first by:

  • Sleeping at the same time each night; anything you have left to do
    can wait until the morning.
  • Taking some time for yourself in the morning to relax, meditate, and
    eat a healthy breakfast before you get started with work or studying.
  • Making exercise a regular part of your routine – even going for a
    brisk walk a few times a week can help.
  • Schedule short, regular breaks when studying to allow yourself to
    get up and stretch your legs, have a drink of water and a healthy snack.
  • Take days off – spend quality time with your family meet up with
    friends or do something that you enjoy.
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#2. Foster Strong
Social Connections

When you are trying to juggle working
full-time with attending university to work for an advanced degree like this
DBA UK from Aston University, it can often feel like it’s completely
impossible to get any time away. Over time, you might notice that your
friendships and even your relationships are suffering as a result; you may no
longer be spending as much time with that special friend you’d usually meet up
with at least once a week, or even staying in touch virtually with friends
out-of-town as much as you normally would. After a while, this can lead to
feelings of isolation, which can be a risk factor for depression and can
certainly leave you feeling demotivated when it comes to your studies. To avoid
this situation:

  • Schedule time for the friendships that are important to you.
  • Foster strong social connections at university – study in a group
    wherever possible and stick around in the library rather than taking your
    studies home.
  • If you’re studying online, search out social media groups for
    likeminded students on the same online programme.
  • Be prepared to sacrifice a few hours of study time for your
    friendships and relationships – in the long run, this will benefit you more.
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#3. Get into a
Routine

Humans are creatures of habit and routine, which is why
we often find it easier to adjust if we’re doing the same thing each day or the
same thing on certain days of the week. Even the most hectic and packed
schedule can be easier to deal with if they become a routine, and there’s
something comforting about knowing what comes next – compared with never quite
being fully sure what’s coming up on your agenda for the day or week.

Coming up with and sticking to a schedule
that works for you and works well around your other commitments is a great way
to get into a routine and make it easier to deal with the amount of work and
responsibility that you have on your plate at the moment. Some benefits
include:

  • You can track when you are most productive during the day and set
    this time aside for studying, to get the most from your revision sessions.
  • Coming up with a schedule for the week or for each day of the week
    gives you more control over your work, as you know where you’re supposed to be
    at any given time and there are no stressful surprises.
  • You will find it easier to start working towards assignment
    deadlines and exams when you are able to work these into your study schedule.
  • If you study online, coming up with a schedule that really works for
    you is even easier as you can study at any time of the day or night that you
    like.
  • You can schedule in breaks or days off to ensure that you’re not
    burning out.
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#4. Improve Your
Money Management

Money can be a massive source of stress for
those attending graduate school, especially if you’re already repaying student
loans from previous bachelor’s or master’s degree programmes you have achieved.
However, the good news is that with the right financial management strategies, money doesn’t
have to be the biggest source of your worries when you are studying for a
graduate degree. Some strategies to consider include:

  • Start saving now – even a small amount moved into a savings account
    each month when you receive your income can provide you with some peace of
    mind.
  • Cut expenses – go through your bank account and determine if there
    are any areas you could be saving more money on. Often, items like utilities,
    insurance, groceries and other essentials can be cut down in price by making
    small changes like shopping around more.
  • Use cash – withdrawing cash can help you stick to a budget by being
    more mindful about the amount of money that you spend.
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Staying motivated at graduate school isn’t
always easy, but with the right strategies, you can be successful!

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