I don’t really know where to start with this post if truth be told! For that reason as you read on, you might find it a little scrappy because as I write this I’m trying hard to get past a groggy fogginess that is presently preventing me from getting on with some serious study. If I were to describe the feeling I’d say it is a draining lack of mental energy which is no doubt the consequence of seasonal overindulgence because all I seem to want to do at the moment is watch trashy TV and participate in activities which take little, or preferably no brain power whatsoever. I have an assignment due by the 17th January and although I have a clear idea of where to go with it (following a mini meltdown), I’m currently finding it difficult to get into the swing after the Christmas break. I had initially decided that despite the scheduled university study break over the festive period, I was going to take advantage of the time to get going on my assignment, but given the opening lines of this post, you won’t be surprised to hear that I have done nothing of the sort. Don’t get me wrong, I know that I’ll get my mojo back sooner or later (one of the reasons I’ve written this piece is to get my mind working again) and once I’ve gotten a kick-start I’ll be absolutely fine, but this whole mindset got me thinking about how to stay motivated and get back into the swing of study after a break. With that in mind, what follows are a few of my personal approaches on how to get back on the proverbial horse, should you find yourself in a similar situation.
First of all, I’m eager to get going with study again and up until now I’ve been feeling a little annoyed with myself for not making the effort sooner, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m entitled to a break over Christmas and New Year, so I’m not going to feel guilty about my lack of effort over the past week. It’s not as though I’m running behind schedule or anything like that, I’m on track (actually I’m already a week in front of my study planner), so I feel justified in taking the time off. Furthermore, I still adore my subject and despite my lack of engagement this past week, I’m still really looking forward to getting stuck into my assignment. I think what I’m trying to say is that even if you are in a similar boat to me, don’t worry, don’t feel guilty, just accept you’ve had a well deserved rest, reset and come back firing on all cylinders.
But how? Well that’s the tricky bit because everyone is different. For me the best way to clear my head (and something that I’ll be doing as soon as I’ve finished writing this piece) is to go on a brisk walk outdoors. I think that I’ll take the dogs on a longer than usual trek because this often works wonders by blowing away any cobwebs or fogginess that might be clouding my thoughts. Additionally, this may sound corny, but being out in the countryside and away from my sensory limiting study space (which I must do something about) helps me muster my thoughts and I often experience moments of clarity that are sometimes overlooked when I have my head buried in a book or journal article. In a roundabout way I suppose I’m advocating some form of physical exercise to drag myself out of the void! Who’d have thought that I would suggest such a thing!!! But it seems the scientists agree too (incidentally as I write this i’m shovelling handfuls of Malteasers into my mouth, but hey it’s still Christmas and they need eating).
Ok, so this next bit isn’t really applicable to my situation because I live and breathe Classics and I need no reminding of the reasons to continue, but taking the time to remember why you personally set out on this path in the first place is a sure-fire way of getting back into the swing of study. Think about everything that you’ve accomplished so far in your studies, what can you accomplish in the future? There must have been a reason you started to study in the first place, so take some time to remind yourself of those reasons then get back in the saddle and gallop off towards the finishing line. That being said, it’s easier said than done!
I don’t know everyone’s circumstances and I don’t claim to have all the answers when it comes to getting yourself motivated again, but since I finished work on 19th December I’ve been in a sort of bubble of isolation (out of choice that is), I’ve done very little. I visited family on Christmas Day and I’ve spent time with friends, but other than that I’ve been very happy and content to stay at home with the dogs, order excessive quantities of books from Amazon (thanks to a gift of Amazon Prime) and more importantly just relax, but that’s where the problems stem from! Realistically I think that by literally doing nothing apart from eating, sleeping and watching TV I’ve created this groggy ambivalence towards serious study myself by effectively cutting myself off from the study community. So, speaking now as an OU student and one that is generally very active on social media and the OU forums not to mention one who is actually getting his head into gear as I write this, it’s time to make a big effort to re-engage with the learning community because I know it’ll give me the boost I need. Granted it’s only been a little over a week since I looked at my books, but for someone who’s used to studying daily, that’s quite a long time.
Perhaps it’s a sign, or perhaps it’s just coincidence but whilst writing this I had a delivery of the first wave of books that I’ve ordered from Amazon! I’ve now got five new books about Latin on my desk including some Latin stories to get stuck into. I’ve taken Val Hope’s book on Roman Death back off the bookshelf and opened it up at the place I left off and I’m now starting to think about some source analysis for the next assignment! All in all I’d say that writing this blog post has bridged the schism in my head and its high time I get back to work!
Have a great New Year & here’s to starting off 2019 as we mean to go on!
P.S – While you are here, why not take a look at these other blog posts that have a similar theme to what’s discussed above!