It is completely natural for your motivation to have ups and downs throughout the semester – even if you love what you are learning!

I’ve noticed that my motivation seems to follow the same trajectory every semester. I now know what to expect, so I thought I would describe my experience for you and give you some tips for staying motivated at different times in the semester.


Pre-semester: Planning

Reflect on your last semester. What went well? How can you improve?


Weeks 1–4: Motivation is high

It feels exciting being back on campus, going to your new classes and meeting your lecturers! Joining study groups is an easy way to meet people. So you can keep each other motivated and accountable.


Weeks 5–6: Motivation dips

As you start to get busier with assignments, labs or difficult classes, you will probably start feeling tired, especially if you are eyeing up the approaching mid-semester break.

My best advice is to reward yourself with something you enjoy, once you’ve completed something you struggled with or didn’t feel like doing.

Mid-semester break: Recharging + revising

Make sure you have a break because these two weeks are so important for your mental health. Have some sleep-ins, catch up with friends and family and revive your hobbies, which you may have neglected. However, the first thing I would do is catch up on any lectures you are behind on so you can relax without them hanging over you. Also schedule time to revise for mid-semester tests.

Weeks 7–9: Motivation restored  

The first week of the second half of semester is quite a contrast to the first week of the first half. You’re thrown right into the deep end. It’s go-go-go. If you are well-rested from the break, hopefully you will feel ready to get back into the grind!

Weeks 10–11: Fighting the stress  

I think this is the toughest time of semester. It can feel like life is coming at you from all different directions – assignments, tests, looming end-of-year exams, getting coursework marks back, all while learning more content. This is when learning to juggle is important. Try to remember why you are here at uni, and what you have achieved so far. You are so close!

Week 12

Labs and tutorials finish up. Lectures start to be exam-focused. You can take a deep breath. Things are easing up now, allowing you to focus on exam revision.

Then there are only a couple more weeks of study until you are free. And wow, what a great feeling this is, knowing you pushed through the hard times and made it out the other side.

If you are really struggling to stay motivated, and feel like it is holding you back, please reach out to friends, lecturers, or your tutors as soon as you can. They’re so supportive and want you to reach your goals. University is not easy, but it feels so rewarding making it through the semester. You can do it!