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Falling In and Out of Love With Your Degree

Lockdown pressed pause on everything in our lives, but we still had to keep going with our degrees. Staying motivated when we didn’t even know if/when we would be going back onto campus definitely made it harder to stay motivated. Falling back in love with your degree is easier said than done, but still worth a try. It takes time to convince yourself that your degree is worth it in the long run when everything at the moment is so bleak. Not everything is going to do the trick, but you chose your degree for a reason and it’s important that you remember that.


I fell out of love with learning languages over lockdown 1.0. Without the help of lecturers, native speakers and actual feedback, fluency seemed like an impossible task that was always going to be out of reach. I’ve recently worked out what works for me to stay motivated and hopefully if you’ve also experienced this very common issue (even without a pandemic), it can help you too.



1. Take a break:


Firstly, take a break from all the reading and staring at screens all day. It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed by how long your to-do list is, that it can be easier to ignore it altogether.


Take breaks from your work and do something completely unrelated or do something vaguely related if you’re one of those people who would get more stressed from not doing anything ‘productive’. I, however, would argue that taking a break from all work completely is productive because you’ll go back to it with a clearer mind. It may feel like taking a break from your work is counterproductive but sometimes you just need some time away from your reading and essay writing to get a fresh perspective.


Passive things you can do during a break can be watching TED talks on something that actually interests you, or for language students, Netflix in the foreign language.


You don’t constantly have to be on top of everything. Taking a break doesn’t mean you’re failing.



2. Don’t treat it like work:


Making some parts of your degree fun will seem impossible – you can’t love every single part of it, especially the reading of random articles that are unnecessarily wordy.


Now is the best time to be romanticising your degree. Whether that be a well-timed walk home from campus at sunset (which I highly recommend), or by making the perfect study playlist that makes you want to work, it gets you wanting to do your degree. Making yourself think that you look really cool which tapping away at your laptop keys in the library, does actually make work seem more fun.


Being creative with your degree can make it a lot more fun to actually learn about. I’ve recently started using Notion; it doesn’t generate streams of text and makes your notes look like you would actually want to read them, as well as making them more memorable. It’s really easy to use so while being a potential procrastination method, I don’t think you could spend hours ignoring all the ‘real’ work you have to do.



3. Look to the future:


Once I started planning my year abroad and I could see where I could end up and what my future career could look like, I was much more motivated to make sure that it happened.


One positive from the pandemic is now there are so many more opportunities online. There’s been lots of online internships and writing opportunities created in the many lockdowns, so you might as well make use of them. The online world is here to stay so we need to get used to using it to our advantage.


Finding inspiration for your degree I think goes hand in hand with finding motivation. By looking at future careers, opportunities or seeing what graduates from your course are doing now shows you what’s available after your degree.


Three years is a long time to spend doing something you hate, but there has got to be a reason why you chose it in the first place. £9,250 is also a lot of money to spend on doing something you don’t enjoy. However, it’s also a lot to stack up in debt by dropping out and having nothing to show for the year/s you did complete.


Despite how tiresome Covid-19 is making university life, the future will hopefully bring back some normalcy to our lives and, that is something to look forward to.


Vicki Mileson

Nottingham '23

20, University of Nottingham. Third year Modern Languages student. Writing about university life, book recommendations and travel.
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