The perfect ‘back to school’ strategy | Varsity Education

The perfect ‘back to school’ strategy

Return in September more motivated than ever

Finding motivation for the first day of school can be difficult, particularly with the prospect of important exams to begin revising for. We examine the best strategies for inspiring yourself again…

Students playing rounders at a Varsity Education Programme

Of course, everyone has their own way of motivating themselves during that crucial first morning. It may be that you’re most keen to catch up with friends again or simply want to ‘get it over with’. However, with clear and consistent objectives, you can focus on your future academic success. If your goals are either impossible or undefined then this will obviously create more stress, which in turn affects motivation.

The best ways to stay focused and motivated during the forthcoming academic year include trying a new homework/revision regime (by doing it at a different time, or in a different place); breaking down your goals (into manageable chunks – term by term); and, finally, not forgetting about exercise (it’s scientifically proven that regular exercise boosts concentration).

In addition, psychologists consistently report that one of the most important drivers for human behaviour is dopamine, a powerful brain chemical that brings feelings of deep satisfaction. That’s why boosting your dopamine levels could be the key to mental wellbeing – and eventual exam success – as a new academic year gets underway.

Educational psychologists point out simple ways to increase dopamine during the school year. These include creating an optimistic outlook by listing your unique strengths and achievements, alongside the goals you’re working towards and those you’ve already reached. Write them down somewhere accessible so you can reignite your reasons to be optimistic in times of need. Acknowledge your progress towards your goals with 10-minute mini celebrations where you do things you enjoy, such as listening to music or checking social media.

Students brainstorming goals and achievements

Other things you can try are practicing gratitude and kindness and having fun. So, when you walk through those gates in early September, it’s worth remembering that although this is undoubtedly an important year academically, your emotional wellbeing also needs nurturing.

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