It is inevitable that there will be aspects of a subject, or even a whole subject, which you won’t enjoy. It’s impossible to love every single moment of a topic – even with English Extension 1, a subject which I most enjoyed, there were times where it was like I didn’t want to put in any effort. But regardless, you can still succeed even if it’s a subject you really dislike. Here are some ways to push through that annoying subject.
1. Change your mindset.
It is really important to try and have a positive attitude towards this dreaded subject of yours. Luckily during the HSC I was stubborn enough to choose all subjects I mostly enjoyed – I refused to do Ancient History and chose distance education for Religion instead. With my moments of annoyance in my subjects, I mostly just pushed through and sucked it up. But my first semester of university saw me facing my worst fear – a mathematics subject. With E1 Maths as a recommended study.
Having not done maths since Y10 for pure hatred for it, I had to find ways to force myself to succeed in this subject. I can strongly say that it was mostly determination that pushed me to make sure that maths didn’t beat me. I had to reason out to myself that dropping out of the subject was not a good idea; that this was something I had to stick through the get through the rest of my degree.
As humans, we are naturally more focused on short-term rewards. So avoiding study for a horrid subject and doing something more enjoyable is easy. But it’s important to change this attitude. From, “I hate maths, it’s so annoying and study is painfully boring.” to “I know maths can be a little dry, but it will help me get to where I want to be. I can do this.” These little things you say to yourself can shift your thinking dramatically, and you may find it’s not as awful as it first seemed!
2. Create a routine.
There’s a quote that says, “Motivation gets you started, but habit keeps you going.” Making a routine of studying that certain subject at a certain time creates a habit that makes it a little easier. Less effort goes into thinking, “Okay, I’ll start studying Modern now.. it’s super boring but I guess I have to.” And you more or less just start, because it becomes a routine as simple as brushing your teeth.
A way to start this can be challenging yourself to do just 5 minutes of that subject. If you don’t like it, you can stop. But most of the time it’s easier to just keep going, because starting is always the hardest part.
3. Find ways to make it enjoyable.
There’s always little ways to make studying for a certain subject more enjoyable. For me, I used listening to music as an incentive to do maths practice questions. Maybe watching Crash Course videos or other content can be something fun- just any little activity which can make studying a little less painful for that subject.
4. Have some short-term motivation.
Rewards systems and quick bursts of motivation can help you push through the times where studying just seems awful. Even seemingly silly things like eating an M&M after one practice question can just be enough to motivate you.
Quotes and little images of inspiration can also be a driving force to keep going. For me, I know that challenges motivate me. So I viewed maths as a challenge. I remember hearing a quote from a cheesy Facebook video of an uncle playing chess with his cousin, and the cousin would not leave until he won the game against his uncle; saying, “It’s not over until I win.” Quotes like this can spark a motivation to keep going.
Author: Ashlee Negrone
Ash studies Pre-Medicine at the University of Technology Sydney. She gradutated in 2016 with an ATAR of 95.3 with the subjects Biology, Adv English, PDHPE, English Ext 1, Design and Technology and Studies of Religion 2U.
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