Overcoming the mid-semester slump

Kellie Plumhof

Senior Luke Weikart crashed during a netflix binge with his cereal and trail mix.(Gabe Cerritos / The Signpost).
Senior Luke Weikart crashed during a Netflix binge with his cereal and trail mix. (Photo Illustration by Gabe Cerritos / The Signpost)

A strange phenomenon sweeps over campus around the middle of each semester. This strange force can turn even the most focused, driven student into a couch potato who vehemently refuses to acknowledge new assignments and upcoming tests.

I like to refer to this phenomenon as, for lack of a better name, the mid-semester slump.

Students fall into this slump right around week seven or eight of the semester. It starts out slowly. Maybe they forget to turn in an assignment or miss a 7:30 a.m. class.

Then, quite suddenly, students realize they haven’t opened their email in over a week and walked into more than one test completely unprepared.

If students cannot pull them out of this slump, they risk undoing all the hard work from the beginning of the semester. However, if these bad habits are quickly nipped in the bud, students can avoid ruining their grades.

Here’s my advice based on sad experience:

First, you have to realize that you’re in a slump. This can be a tough fact for anyone to admit and it may take some time. The best way to realize you have a problem is to keep track of how many classes or assignments you’re missing. If this number increases drastically from your norm, then you need to consider that you may be in a slump.

Once you’ve realized you’re in a slump, you can then begin the process of picking yourself up and getting back to your normal routine.

If there’s a specific class or subject giving you grief, and you haven’t gotten help, this is a great time to get the assistance you need. You can check out the tutoring center or writing center on campus. It’s never too late to get help with that research paper or chemistry lab.

Remember that it’s OK to take a break, as long as it’s scheduled and doesn’t take priority over your responsibilities. Take the upcoming fall break for example. You can take half a day during that break and designate for your favorite relaxing activity.

By planning breaks from your regular schedule, you will end up being more productive. These breaks will help reduce the feeling of being burned out.

Another aspect that comes with being in a slump is neglecting personal health and hygiene. Maybe you skip one too many showers or perhaps you just can’t stop ordering take-out for dinner.

The fact is you can’t let your health get pushed to the side.

Take notice of what you’re eating, how much you’re exercising and the amount of time you’ve dedicated to personal hygiene. Even replacing one bad snack a day with an apple or banana can help turn things around.

Lastly, begin planning a reward for finishing out the semester strong. The reward should be personal and practical: In other words, don’t spend $500 on a shopping spree.

Instead, buy yourself a book you’ve really been wanting, or plan a spa day with your best friends. Whatever it is, keep that reward in mind as you push through the downhill slope of the semester.