Ask a Former Stress Addict: Rekindling the Spark

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Dear Fiona,

I am losing interest in my classes. I really loved them at the start of the term — I used to be so into everything we were studying. All the readings were amazing, class discussions were great and I was so excited about the subject, but now it just feels like a chore. How can I rekindle the love that I once had for my classes? I don’t want the rest of my term to be miserable.

– Joyless Junior


Dear Joyless Junior,

I’ve talked to a lot of people who have experienced this, so you are not alone. Rekindling your love for your classes is achievable, but it will take effort on your part.

First, try to clear your mind before you go to class. Walk into class like it’s the first day of term, free from expectations and assumptions. Try to listen to the lecture or class discussion receptively and get excited about what you’re hearing. If you’re stuck in the rut of just going to class and sitting through it with your eyes on the clock, this method can help you get out of it.

Another thing you can try is to make a date with your readings. Print them out — even if you usually don’t — go to a coffee shop or just make yourself a really nice cup of coffee or tea and just read. Don’t try to take notes, just absorb the information, get sucked into the content. If you normally listen to music while you do readings, try listening to white noise instead. I love listening to music while I do work, but sometimes it’s hard to fully concentrate on what you’re reading — or writing, for that matter — when you’re listening to music.

Sometimes I find that reading out loud helps me really get into the article or book and helps me understand what the author is trying to say. After you’ve taken your readings on a date, try to read them from then on like you would read a novel you really love. Curl up with a blanket and some cocoa and really try to enjoy the process of reading for class.

The last thing that I would suggest is that you talk to your professor about it. Go to office hours and ask for help. You want to be excited about this class, and you were at one point. They are probably excited about it— they are teaching it for a reason — so maybe they can remind you of why you found this topic is so cool in the first place. Get them to nerd out with you about it, because that can be a lot of fun.

If you have a project for that class, ask for some help with it and get their perspective on the project. It could help you get more into the subject. Professors want their students to enjoy their classes, so if you’re not having fun anymore but you want to be, they will try very hard to get you excited about the class.

This will take some effort from you to achieve, but it can be done. Aside from these methods that I’ve suggested, in general just try to remind yourself why you  originally decided to take the class in the first place. Really think about the subject and talk to your friends about it. I feel like we get in this rut toward the middle to the end of the term where we are only superficially thinking about our classes. So I think it’s worth it to consciously take some time to reflect on what it is about your classes that so interested you originally.

Good luck!