How to Stay Passionate About Your Degree

Spring semester is well and truly here and it’s time to get stuck in with your degree. Except, as much as you try to study, it can be difficult to maintain interest for your subject like you used to. I love my English degree, but I still have days where even reading a book is just too much. I’ve compiled some tips with the help of some students on other courses on how to stay passionate about your degree subject.



1.Talk in seminars

University can feel really impersonal at times and it can sometimes seem like all of your studying is undertaken alone or passively through a lecture. However, seminars are your chance to talk about your reading for the week with an expert in the field. That can feel really intimidating; however, it can also be really invigorating. Your tutor enjoys their subject and can pass that on to you. Whilst it can be hard to think of ideas and speak up in seminars, good tutors will encourage discussion on what you say, even if you think your point is minimal or basic. If you don’t understand something you should speak up too – your coursemates are most likely thinking the same thing, and would be relieved you brought it up first.


2.Read around your subject

Sometimes it can be hard to remember your interest in your subject area whilst sitting through a boring lecture. A Nottingham student in Nutrition and Dietetics suggested searching for online articles within your subject area that spark your interest. Whilst this may seem like a lot more work, learning about specifics rather than the big picture can help you dig deeper into your subject and appreciate it a whole lot more. Your degree subject is much more than your contact hours – that doesn’t have to be extra pressure, make it an opportunity to explore what you truly care about in your subject.


3.Attend Careers Events

Sometimes being a student can feel like being on a continuous cycle of lectures, reading and assignments, but attending careers events can help you see the big picture your studying goes towards. Don’t be intimidated if you don’t know what career you want to go in to - careers events are designed for you too. One of my fellow English students benefitted from doing the School of English’s Nottingham Advantage Award module ‘Careers for English Students’. It allowed her to realise the extent of the range of career options for English graduates, as well as meeting graduates who had excelled in competitive industries. If you can picture a bright future after university, you’ll be much more inclined to work towards it.


4.Have a study session with your coursemates/bond over your shared struggles

I guarantee that you are not the only one on your course who is feeling unmotivated about your degree. Why not gather your coursemates together for a study session? If your course friends aren’t taking the same modules as you this semester, try chatting to the people sat next to you at the end of your seminar. It’s never too late to make new friends and the easiest way I’ve found to make new friends on my course is bonding over our shared struggles in our modules. Even if you don’t get much studying done, bonding over a difficult piece of reading or a boring lecture will make you realise you’re not the only one who loses passion in their degree.


5.Learn when you should and should not try to study in Hallward

During exam season, Hallward is so packed that even if you get a seat it’s unlikely to be a productive studying environment. However, just like trains, Hallward operates on a peak/off-peak system. If you can beat the crowds, Hallward is a great place to study. Hallward is never busy at this point in the semester (it’s not peak time), so you can find yourself a comfy chair and sprawl out on Level 1 without having to get distracted by accidental eavesdropping. Take advantage of a great space to work whilst it still serves its purpose, and hopefully the added concentration will aid continued interest in your degree.


6.Find some eye candy in your lectures

Some days the joy of learning isn’t enough to make you go to your lecture, but a student of Spanish and Chinese recommends finding a hot guy/girl in your lecture to keep you motivated to attend. If it’s another student, try to make it your goal for him/her to notice you by the end of the semester. If it’s an academic, use your interest in their looks to motivate you to study more so you can impress them with your knowledge in their subject area.


7.Only think about assessments when you really have to

For me, the idea of essays and exams puts me off my degree subject more than anything. If I’m supposed to be here to fulfil my interests and expand my horizons, what on Earth do assessments have to do with that? Obviously you want to get good grades, but turning an interesting topic into an exam formula or essay plan too soon can make you lose any of your enthusiasm for the topic. Work on engaging with the content in an enthusiastic and intellectual way first. The assessments I have done best on and felt the most proud of were the ones for which I engaged the most with the module as a whole, rather than the modules on which I focussed on the assessment.


However you stay motivated, know that dips in enthusiasm are completely normal. Have faith in your ability to combat academic woes – you must have done it before to reach university. You never know when that inspiring lecture or fascinating book will come around.