4 Ways to Get Into An "Academic" Mood

Edited by Jasmine Ryu Won Kang

With online classes being the norm for the majority of university students, it can be difficult to feel like you’re still “in school” (especially if you commute from home and don’t come to campus very often). There are several challenges that people may have faced in the past few weeks, such as less motivation to study, not being fully present in class, screen fatigue, and the lack of a barrier between school and life. However, I believe that small aesthetic and sensory additions to your day can make it easier to motivate yourself to get into an academic mindset. 

  1. 1. Dressing Up

    sweaters on clothing rack, sheaf of wheat next to it

    Even if you live at home or commute, dress up for your classes! While it’s super convenient that we can now attend classes in our pajamas, it can sometimes make us feel a bit too cozy. Dressing like how you would attend an in-person class or even making an effort to dress up a bit more than usual can put you in a more productive mood and inspire you to do your work. 

  2. 2. Walks Before and After Class

    fall leaves on the ground

    Weather permitting, try to take a short walk before and after your classes as a way to refresh your mind. Back when we had in-person classes, we had the opportunity to use our walk to class to prepare for the hours ahead, and when we were done with class, walking back helped with decompressing and absorbing what we just learned. With online learning, the division between class and other tasks get blended together, so taking brisk walks intermittently can help create that sense of division.

  3. 3. Aesthetic Study Space

    bullet journal with two gold pillar candles

    In addition to keeping your desk and study space clean and clutter-free, give it a makeover! I personally have wall collages above my desk with photos of campus, literary quotes, and vintage photos that give me the motivation to study. If you need inspiration, look up the niche aesthetic called “dark academia” on some Pinterest boards and you’ll understand the vibe I’m going for. Now that it's autumn, I've also taped up some colorful leaves and added some fake candles near my window sill. 

  4. 4. Ambient Sounds 

    Orange LED sign that says "you are what you listen to"

    Lean on music and ASMR to enhance your studying experience! For the former, there are several period drama film soundtracks that I listen to in the background when I’m doing my readings or planning out my day. When you need to do more intensive studying or essay writing, ASMR videos can be super effective at making you feel like you are in a library, cafe, or outside in nature (whichever helps you the most!). With the fall season well underway, some crackling fire sounds may also be a great way to feel both warm and productive.


Essentially, try to do anything that you can think of to create a sense of what “university” life means to you. These times, while challenging, are also a unique opportunity to truly personalize your higher education experience and learn more about yourself and how you learn. Be creative and surround yourself with things that support and empower you. And remember to have fun!