You might have started the semester with the best intentions to perform well in school, but after studying for multiple midterms and multitasking for several weeks non-stop, you’re probably feeling burnt out – anxious and maybe even a little homesick.
Well, I hate to say it, but you have just unfortunately fallen into the dark, negative reality that is commonly known as the mid-semester slump. A time in the school year when you (and just about every student, even some professors) lose all motivation to get through – or even go to – class.
It’s time to get back on track in school and at least make it to the next holiday – where you’ll be able to recharge your student battery. Here are seven tips that will help you gain the momentum needed to get out of this common, somewhat debilitating, academic funk.
Head Outside & Be One with Nature
Drive to a nearby park and take a walk, hike a local trail, feed some ducks at the lake – heck, just take a simple walk around campus or your neighborhood for 20 minutes. Spending time outside will provide you with a much-needed change of environment. And if you remain out there for at least 15 minutes, you’ll receive a good dose of serotonin-boosting vitamin D from the sunlight (think better sleep, better mood, more energy AKA au naturel de-slumper.)
Your gym may not be open, but any bit of exercise, even if it’s just a set of sit-ups or jumping jacks can give you the quick energy boost you need to keep on carrying on. Anytime you engage in an activity that requires a boost of energy, your body will release endorphins – the “positive feeling” hormone. Research also links exercise to better heart health, sharper focus, reduced stress, and improved sleep.
Take A Break from Social Media
Yes, while scrolling TikTok and Instagram feeds until your fingerprints rub off is more enjoyable than studying for a test or writing a paper – it’s terribly unproductive. And unfortunately for you and your now fingerprintless fingers, procrastination can be partially responsible for a mid-semester slump. The more schoolwork you let pile up, the more overwhelmed you’ll feel when it’s time to tackle any of it, especially if you have less time to do so. All of this can lead to an unnecessary amount of anxiety, stress, missed classes, unfinished homework and/or terrible test grades. So much doom!. Instead of living out some college version of A Christmas Carol, heed our warning. When it’s time to study or write, leave your phone in another room.
Break Up Your Work
Now that your phone is in another room, it’s time to get some work done. Go easy on yourself and break assignments and studying up into smaller tasks and sessions. Tackling one thing at a time will not only make your schoolwork feel more manageable (and less stressful and woeful), but it will also reduce your workload and get you closer to your goals – with what will feel like very little effort.
Create A Reward System
Yes, receiving good grades for all the hard work you put in is a substantial reward, but it’s not an immediate reward. Think on more of a micro reward level – an evening of guilt-free video gaming if you start a paper early and get halfway through it. A Frappuccino, a new novel, a cheeseburger, or a new lipstick, for leaving the bed and showing up to class on a day you wanted to do anything but that. Or go a little bigger, like a day or overnight stay at the beach or mountains if you’ve studied hard all week for an exam. With so much schoolwork to do, and so little want to do any of it, get motivated by giving yourself something positive to look forward to.
Give Your Bedroom A Small Facelift
A complete dorm or bedroom redo isn’t necessary. But a slight refresh of your surroundings – replacing an old duvet cover, buying fresh flowers, or even just cleaning your room or making the bed for the first time in a long time – can positively improve your mental state.
Find an Accountability Coach
Whether it’s a friend, parent, tutor, or an actual accountability coach, including another person in on your goals could be just the ticket you need to get motivated and get work done. It may be easy to ignore the voice in your head telling you to get off the couch and pick up your textbook (because no one will know otherwise,) but the voice of another person is not as easy to ignore. Schedule a regular study session with a classmate or explain to a friend or family member that you’ve been feeling a little disenchanted by school lately and ask them to check in with you and your progress occasionally.