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I am a student studying the last semester of a 2-year Master's course. My performance in the last three semesters has been according to my expectations. In my last winter break, I had spent almost all the time on research. Three months into the semester, I find myself simply unable to study, especially outside the classroom. Nothing seems to motivate me to study. With around one month left for the examinations, I know this could create a huge problem, but there seems to be nothing I can do. Is there anything I can do to improve my situation?

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I feel you're talking about me. I think every student experiences this. –  superM Apr 2 '13 at 10:16
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5 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Take a break.. i guess u need to switch your brain to something u enjoy and haven't done for sometime.. some activity.. but it should not consume more than two-three days. stay away from your studies for this period. I feel You will be refreshed enough to be motivated and be able to complete your semester.

And try to spend some time with anyone you know who has successfully finished the course or a similar one. hope it will inspire you to achieve what you want, (as you will be able to see yourself in a similar position in future).

Then as Rory said, Be persistent!!

All the best!!

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Thank you for your help. I have already relaxed over this weekend, and I hope to try and concentrate better this week. –  Arani Apr 1 '13 at 18:56
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First, don't be hard on yourself. It kinda seems like that is what you are doing. What you are experiencing is natural. Commonly know as "senioritis". I'm one year into my second Master's and I'm already experiencing it.

My advice, remind yourself why you are getting this degree. Remind yourself of all the energy and effort you have spent getting this far. There is no easy fix, but re-aligning yourself with your goals will be helpful.

If you find yourself avoiding assignments, try to break them up into smaller pieces. Instead of saying "I'm going to 3 hours completing this assignment tonight", which may be daunting and cause you to become even less motivated, promise yourself that you will at least do something related to that assignment for only 20 minutes. Like read a chapter. Reaearch the topic. Brainstorm your report, then walk away. Etc. This will make it seem less daunting and actually will become a motivator once you see yourself make progress.

Also, check out the Pomodoro Technique. Just Google it if you never heard of it. I find this very helpful when I have an important task to tackle but my motivation is lacking.

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Your brain is already beginning to wind down as you see the end in sight. This is actually very common, people who are 'Finishers' are much rarer than 'Deliverers', and the generally accepted view is that there isn't a magic bullet here... You just need to force your way through.

With one month left, forget motivation and just use persistence. Plan how much study you will build in to each day, and stick to it. No going out, no partying etc., in fact use the promise of a party as a reward for afterwards.

Create a time budget that has all your required topics planned in, and stick to it. Plan frequent breaks, perhaps ten minutes every hour, in order to rest.

There are many questions here on how to work without motivation.

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I'm writing here a few tips that can help you with motivation.

  1. Take a dog for a walk. Go to nature and enjoy it, especially if it's sunny day. Or try squash or other sport.
  2. Eat healthy nutrition. This is a large topic to describe here.
  3. Organize your thoughts with outliner (e.g. Workflowy).
  4. If you're tired of reading. Try TTS (e.g. Neospeech Julie or Paul), listen and relax.
  5. Sleep well.
  6. Be greateful for all good things during the day.
  7. If you still have troubles, ask nature (or something that you believe in) to help you feel better, be motivated, have energy, .... whatever.
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This might not apply to your situation, but I thought I would post it in case other students would find this useful.

For some this could be a rather difficult situation. I would recommend visiting the counselling services office (most universities have one). Some of them will provide anxiety or stress management tips. Some are run by students so will provide a safe environment for sharing.

Many students face this (actually, many professionals also have to deal with this). So you are definitely not alone.

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