It’s past midnight and you don’t want to pick up that textbook again. Something about the last ten weeks or so has wiped clean the scant mental and physical willpower you conserved just for studying. “I’m exhausted”, you tell yourself. Maybe I should take a short break to refuel. And so you do.
Only, it’s not short.
It’s a coma. You’re in a study coma: a state of unresponsiveness to any encouragement to study.
- Complete exhaustion from even attempting to half-heartedly study.
- Eye-rolling at the mere thought of even checking your schedule.
- Heightened interest in nihilism
- Involuntary urge to read Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.
Such comas aren’t abnormal occurrences; in fact, a totally fictitious study based on my own experience as a college student concludes that students go into a ‘studying coma’ multiple times during their academic lives. But, while it is a relief that your case isn’t a serious condition, it has seriously fatal consequences. Oftentimes, a studying coma puts your future on the line. The sad truth is that a coma sets in and is hardest when finals are close on your heels. So, making matters doubly worse, it’s not just the exasperation of being sluggish and unproductive but also the ominous imminence of dreadful exams and papers hovering over your pillow/bed every night.
Risk Factors (Causes)
You were possibly in one of two cases: you studied hard for an insufferably long time or you’ve been through several rounds of procrastination. Either way, you have numbed your senses beyond a quick recovery. But have faith; a rebound isn’t impossible.
Treatment and Care
- Avoid Procrastination At All Costs (for its consequences are hell pricey)
There is nothing less easier said than done. I know. But, believe me, the crack in the code to defeat the procrastination monster and gracefully save your grades is in this formula: study for short durations + schedule break times + block distractions using these apps on your phone or laptop. Okay? Okay.
- Procrastinate Wisely
If you know you’re going to procrastinate and won’t be studying this specific subject, then use your ‘wasted’ time wisely. Instead of wasting away your energy on social media (which the apps should block anyway), spend some time off to completely de-stress. Take a nap or a hot bath to recharge. If you still don’t feel like studying yet, pick a low effort task, like a quick reading assignment or tidying your desk, and cross off some items on your to-do list that you were going to do anyway. You may be avoiding the main task, but at least you’re using your procrastination time to do other things.
- Cut Boredom Short (or cure Parkinson’s Law)
Right before the onset of boredom, take a quick break. Go out for a brisk walk, rearrange your messy closet, doodle, read a poem, write your plan to rule the world, alter your studying space, or resume studying in a quiet coffee shop.
- Don’t Fudge
Most people, like you, are optimistic about their productivity and so underestimate the time it takes them to finish a task by a certain time factor. They think they’re unproductive and lazy when in fact it’s their illusionary forecast that deluded them. If you think it’ll take you an hour to study a chapter and instead it actually takes you 90 minutes to read it, then your ‘fudge ratio’ is 90/60 or 1.5. Use this guesstimate to realistically allocate time slots for studying tasks rather than overwhelming yourself with too many.
Unless you do your best to avoid its causes, a studying coma is a pretty common and easy trap that most, if not all, students fall into from time to time. However, if you try the remedies at home, you should hopefully resume your studies normally and live a healthy student life.
Thoughts? What do you do when you’re in a studying coma? Do you think the coma is our fault as students or should we blame the conditions that make its recurrent emergence almost inevitable?