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Caitlin Sim

SFU Student Undergraduate
Arts + Social Sciences › Psychology | Arts + Social Sciences › Criminology

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Being a student comes with difficulties we are all too familiar with. The constant pressure to keep up with studying, meet deadlines and manage our work life balance can be challenging. Too much pressure and stress can halt our progress altogether and getting out of that slump is another challenge.

Ever think of those movie scenes where the main character has just gone through a crushing defeat, and then gets a crazy burst of energy to get their life back together? Followed by a montage of scenes of them studying and working to achieve their goals again? Movies of course are fictional, but that doesn’t mean we can’t apply some of their concepts to real life situations. In this case, taking on a role that makes you feel motivated to do work can really help you shift your mindset from feeling defeated, to feeling motivated.

Here are some of my tips to start your main character routine:

1. Set a Morning Routine

Something I find that helps me is setting a morning ritual. This could consist of making breakfast, doing a little bit of exercise, or whatever you find helps you mentally reset to start the day. My personal routine after getting up is taking the time to make a drink for myself and planning my day out in a journal. And no, you don’t have to get up and cram a sunrise hike and make breakfast all before 6 am like people in the movies. The idea of this morning routine is to start the day by taking this time for yourself to mentally prepare you for the day, and this can include having a relaxing morning before you start work (or you could go on that sunrise hike too). 

2. Get Up and Get Dressed

As in actually get up and get dressed for the day, not get up and stay in your PJs the whole day. Even if you work from home and don’t have to see anyone, taking the time to dress up and get ready like you would any other day is another way to feel prepared in the morning. Getting dressed in the morning is not just for when you must be in the presence of other people, but rather should be seen as a way to prepare you for the day. Think of those movies that open with the main character getting ready for school, they pick out a ton of different outfits and they always have a signature style that suits them. The process of getting ready is even more fun when you immerse yourself in that state of mind!

3. Make a Playlist to Set Your Mood

Finding a good playlist or making your own can help you set the mood for the day. Start your day by playing some positive upbeat tunes, or curate a jazzy playlist to get you into the studying mood when you are at your favorite cafe or the library. Setting up a playlist can make the day a little more interesting and can really motivate you throughout the day. After all, your main character will need a soundtrack for their lives, this is just one way to get into character. 

4. Create a Workspace that Works

I find that the space I’m in can really affect the way I’m feeling. To be the main character you will need to create the perfect space to work and study in. Look at your workspace and try to remove any clutter you might not need in the present moment. I get easily distracted and even the sight of other stationary objects, notebooks or unrelated items can throw off my concentration. My tip is to keep your desk organized with minimal clutter and keep your space tidy. The goal is to set aside a specific place that primes your brain for work.  

5. Switch up your Study Spots!

I have been talking a lot about routines, but routines can get repetitive or boring. Always know what works best for you, but don’t be afraid to switch it up and try something new, you might find new ways to make your studying days a little easier. The main protagonist of a movie is always learning new things and changing, so you should too! Thinking of studying up at SFU Burnaby? Be sure to know the best study spots to really boost your productivity. 

One Final Tip From Me to You: 

Know your limits and be kind to yourself. Don’t feel pressured into comparing your routine to somebody else's. Every main character of a movie is different. What this means in the real world is what works for somebody else, might not necessarily work for you. The goal here is to find something that works best for you. Feeling like you are in a slump can be frustrating, but what would the main protagonist be without a little challenge in life? So don’t feel like all hope is lost, remember that the main protagonist on TV always thrives in the end, which is where you will be too. 


Caitlin Sim

SFU Student Undergraduate
Arts + Social Sciences › Psychology | Arts + Social Sciences › Criminology
visibility  144
Nov 24, 2022

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