Fall Fatigue is real. Here are a few ways to motivate yourself and beat that fall lull

Illustration by Sydney Smith

Fall is in the air. It’s the perfect time to make a cup of tea, cozy up under a blanket and catch up on your reading for class. 

But that book is all the way on the coffee table. And you should really be working on something that’s more pressing for a different class. Maybe you’ll just watch a few TikToks before you get started. 

Suddenly, it’s 11 p.m. and that promise you made to yourself at the start of the semester to stay on top of things is seeming more daunting than ever. Fear not! Here are a few ways to beat that fall fatigue.

Tip number one, find your academic inspiration. Whether it be the ever-problematic but astute Rory Gilmore from Gilmore Girls, the ambitious Jess Day from New Girl or the cunning Elle Woods from Legally Blonde, it’s important to have a TV show or movie that will play in the background during those late-night study seshes to subconsciously motivate you. 

I know, a TV show is supposed to help me study? But humans subconsciously replicate what they see. An academic journal by scholars Broom, Chavez and Wagner discussed that “Identification with a fictional character… can be viewed as a form of narrative transportation (Green and Brock, 2000) whereby one is transported into the first-person psychological perspective of a character, adopting his/her viewpoint, goals and mental states within the narrative.” 

This next tip may sound simple, but it’s a game changer if you’re notorious for thinking “I’ll remember that” as your professor or boss details your responsibilities for the week. Use. A. Calendar. Whether it be Google Calendar or a cute handwritten one, seeing your tasks laid out for the week — especially when things feel overwhelming at the start of the semester — is a game changer. 

Get outside! Living in Boise comes with freezing winters, but also beautiful falls. Now is the perfect time to lay out a blanket by Friendship Bridge or under a tree in the quad and hit the books. A report from UC Davis Health discussed that “Research continues to demonstrate that being outside and experiencing nature can improve our mental health and increase our ability to focus” 

Tip three, work hard, but give yourself rewards too. If you show up for yourself academically, you’re creating a sense of trust with yourself, but if you’re pushing yourself too hard it will be unsustainable. 

Creating incremental rewards or incentives to study could be exactly what you need to get started. Get a coffee after finishing a major assignment or watch twenty minutes of a favorite show for getting a certain amount of reading done. Be sure and set a timer though so the endless scrolling on Tiktok doesn’t reinstate itself. 

Although professors consistently share their disbelief of how far into the semester we are, you still have time. Finding ways to self-motivate and establish productive study habits early on sets students up for the rest of the school year. Don’t forget to have some fun and engage in some fantastic fall events in Boise as well such as The Farmstead, The Botanical Gardens and more.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Jackson

    Great advice, Olivia! I’ve had a lot of success using a timer, the pomodoro method really helps get my brain going. I’ll try putting the TV on next time I’m studying.

  2. Carrie

    Great article! My favorite tip is setting up rewards. I think of it as dessert. Get it done then order up dessert – whether it be a hot chai, a movie, a fun read or some time with friends. I can attest to the fact that the habits you create for accomplishing school work will also set the stage for adulting as in accomplishing life and professional tasks.

Leave a Reply