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Guide to motivation during finals season


As college students prepare to take finals during the coronavirus (COVID-19), some students are faced with added stress.  

study published by the Journal of Medical Internet Research in 2020 shows that out of 195 students, 71% reported that their stress and anxiety levels have increased due to the pandemic.  

Another report conducted by The Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) in July of 2020, shows that out of 22,519 undergraduate students, 76% reported lack of motivation for online learning. 

Lauren Schoeller is an academic mentor with the Center for Academic Resources (CFAR) at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). “When it comes to academic stress, a lot of that can stem from time management and procrastination,” she said. 

To help combat this issue, the Princeton Review published some of their best tips for preparing for finals. These include creating detailed plans for study sessions, dedicating increased amounts of time to tougher classes, maintaining a regular sleep schedule and if possible, having a study partner, which can help with talking through different problems students encounter. 

CFAR at UNH also has a guide with ways to help with various situations during finals.  

As reported by the SERU, lack of motivation seems to be a significant problem for students. To combat this, CFAR has created a Zoom link where students can go to remotely study with their peers.  

“We work with students on time management skills and organization. We encourage that from the start of the semester, if you can get on top [of things] as quick as possible, then hopefully that can limit the amount of stress later on,” said Schoeller. 

CFAR has created many other helpful resources, including tips on remote learning for finals. Their remote guide for finals includes tips such as creating a 9-5 study routine with room for breaks, setting goals for each day, and making a point of studying the syllabus as to not miss any important information. You can find CFAR’S full finals toolkit here

The academic mentors at CFAR are a group of undergraduate students who have been specially trained to help coach their peers. 

However, some students may find themselves in a place where they haven’t planned ahead like Schoeller suggests, but do not worry, there are other places to turn to find motivation. 

Kylee Casner is also an academic mentor for CFAR, she says that “Motivation is going to be different for everyone, what I like to do personally, is I like to emphasize short term and long-term rewards, [for example] my short-term reward for this week just to get myself through, I am gonna watch a movie that I’ve been wanting to watch.” 

A nationwide survey conducted by FileMaker, Inc. shows that 87% of students believe that better time management skills would help them get better grades. 

“It might sound kind of silly, but sticker charts are really rewarding,” said Casner. “It is kind of the same thing when you write a to do list and then you can cross something off and feel more accomplished,” she continued. 

Both Schoeller and Casner mentioned that everyone’s needs are different. They stressed that the most important thing to do to better your academic experience, is to keep yourself healthy and make sure all your mental needs are taken care of. 

For more information on UNH’s student resources you can visit

Photo courtesy of UNH Center for Academic Resources.

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