Published: Feb. 10, 2023

Staying motivated in class can feel challenging now that the spring semester is well underway. If you’ve fallen behind on your schoolwork, you still have time to get back on track. You can incorporate habits and practices to stay focused and motivated to do your best.

Use different study methods

Trying new ways of studying can help improve your retention and productivity. One method to incorporate into your study routine is the study cycle method. The method uses four steps to learn and retain information.

  • Preview the material before class. Skim the chapter, focus on the headings and bold words, review chapter summaries and prepare questions to ask your professor.
  • Attend the class, take notes and participate in the class discussion.
  • Review your notes as soon as possible after class.
  • Schedule time in your week to study the material again. Review your notes, handouts and other reading materials.

Use this process for each class to keep the content fresh and stay motivated to learn.

Focus on the big picture

As you manage the day-to-day tasks of your classes, you may lose focus on the big picture of your college experience. Some students find it helpful to remember why they are pursuing higher education. Take time to think about why you chose a particular path of study. 

  • How will your degree help you in the future?
  • How will your family benefit after you graduate?
  • Do you want to help improve a specific area of society?
  • Are you passionate about a cause where your education will equip you to make a difference?
  • Do you want to work in a career that requires specific credentials?

When you feel unmotivated, reflect on your long-term goals and dreams. Even if you are unsure of your major or what you want to do after graduation, you can still think about why you chose CU Boulder and use that as motivation.

Participate in class

Make an effort to join classroom discussions and participate in class. Staying engaged will not only help you stay focused on the learning material but can also help you to feel connected. You can meet other students and get to know your professor better.

  • Come prepared to class to make asking a question related to the study materials easier.
  • Participate in group discussions by sharing your thoughts or ideas.
  • If talking in class feels intimidating, practice asking questions or sharing ideas in your mirror at home to help build your confidence. 

Challenge yourself to speak up in class, even if it feels uncomfortable initially. Remember that no matter the format, participating in class can be a great asset to your learning experience.

Ask for help

If you’ve fallen behind, don’t understand an assignment or have a question about a concept discussed in class, ask for help. CU Boulder offers many resources for students to find academic support. You can talk with a classmate, visit your professor’s office hours and take advantage of other free resources.

Prioritize balance

Students have busy schedules with lots of responsibilities. It can feel challenging to balance school, activities, work, relationships and other commitments. Yet, taking care of yourself is important to avoid burnout and stay motivated.

  • Aim to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
  • Eat regularly to maintain your energy and nutrition.
  • Take breaks when studying or working on projects to recharge and refocus.
  • Establish routines and ways to stay organized.
  • Seek help if you feel overwhelmed or need additional support. 

It’s normal to lose motivation at various points in the semester. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Instead, take steps to improve your focus and regain your motivation.