Doing well in subjects you don’t enjoy

Photo: lusipurr

While it’s nice to imagine breezing through your degree with a heap of interesting subjects under your belt that you loved and did amazingly well in, this often isn’t the reality for most of us.

With many majors including compulsory subjects, required subjects (such as an Arts Foundation) and breadth, chances are at some point you’ll end up in a subject you have limited interest in and just don’t enjoy.

So without further ado, here are 5 tips that will help you get through that subject with a good mark to show for your persistence!

1) Accept it

Yes, you’re going to have to sit through a subject you don’t even like for the next semester, but complaining about it, feeling sorry for yourself or outright giving up altogether is not going to help you at all.

If you’re going to be stuck in this subject for the next few months, you may as well leave it with a good mark to compensate for all the tedious lectures and soul-destroying assignments.

Refusing to try in a subject is like going to a restaurant and ordering a $700 meal but not eating it. Plus, it only takes one satisfying mark to restore your motivation and get you more interested in doing well. It’s called positive reinforcement and it works. Google it.

2) Read through your lecture slides ahead of time

I know the thought of putting extra work into a subject you don’t even like seems absurd, but reading through your content so you know what’s coming up in the course really will help you out (and it doesn’t take that long either).

I am well acquainted with the feeling of desperately attempting to focus in a boring lecture, and I know it usually ends with a total abandonment of taking notes and reverting to Facebook stalking instead.

If you quickly skim through your lecture slides ahead of time, not only will you pick up on things that you might otherwise miss every time you lose concentration, but you’ll also know when it’s okay to get a bit distracted.

No one is able to concentrate for 50 minutes straight and that’s okay, but you’ll feel so much more on top of things if you know exactly when you can afford to doze off for a few minutes without missing out on a heap of crucial information!

3) Adapt your study routine

Studying content you have no interest in is worlds apart from getting through work you love doing.

Many a time I have found myself neck deep in a new TV series, surrounded by empty tea cups and food remnants with a single unopened text book sitting close enough to me that it almost looks like I could be using it.

Although you’ve probably heard it a million times before, it’s a good idea to get tedious study out of the way before everything else, otherwise you’ll spend way too long on the things you enjoy and leave no time for the things you really need to do.

Make a timetable and mark out a couple of hours to give your full attention to the subject you don’t like, and make sure you turn your phone off during this time.

When you can actually see how much time you’ll be dedicating to studying in comparison to the rest of the week it really won’t seem like such a struggle.

4) Find something that interests you

It’s highly unlikely that you won’t come across a single thing that sparks interest in your Subject From Hell.

All you need is a small section of the course or even a single interesting fact to get the ball rolling!

Read up on it, do some research, watch some relevant TED talks, talk about it with your friends – do whatever you usually do when you’re totally absorbed by something and want to know more about it.

Once you start associating whichever subject it is you don’t enjoy with something you do enjoy, you’ll find that you no longer dread going to lectures every week.

5) And finally, DON’T STRESS! 

I know how frustrating it is to be told not to worry when you’re feeling completely overwhelmed and can’t do anything but worry, especially when you’re relying on your marks to get you into post-grad studies.

I am also more than familiar with the anxiety that paradoxically appears alongside an extreme lack of motivation, but I can guarantee you that your tutors will almost always be willing to give you a push when you need it.

It’s said time and time again, but your tutors really are the best resource you have, and essentially exist to help you out with concepts you don’t understand and give you an idea as to what you need to do in order to get the marks you need.

And don’t forget, there’s nothing wrong with taking a day off every once in a while when you’re feeling completely out of your depth to laze around in your pajamas, eat too much ice cream and de-stress.

At the end of the day, we all have to do things we don’t enjoy. If anything, by completing a tedious subject you’re training yourself to better deal with all the other unenjoyable things you’re inevitably going to have to do down the track, even when you’d rather stay in bed marathoning reality TV shows all day – and that seems like a pretty good skill to have.

– Aisling

Leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

%d bloggers like this: