For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Mar 17 2017
by Emily Luong

How to Get Out of the Second Semester Slump

By Emily Luong - Mar 17 2017

As spring break comes to a close with the next vacation being when school lets out for the summer, there are times when it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel while also trying to finish the semester on a good note. The next month(s) seem much too far away when remaining midterms, fall semester course registration, rooming forms and final exams stand in the way between us and the long awaited and much deserved summer break. To make it through the remaining half of the semester in one piece, the following are some strategies I have implemented to increase my motivation.

1. Setting aside time for friends and socializing.

Work hard, play hard! But in all seriousness, committing a few hours at the end of each week for some relaxation with friends, whether it be dinner at a restaurant, a movie or a party, is an opportunity to recharge your batteries for the following week. The only caution is to make sure you don’t go too overboard — know your limits and know when to say enough is enough.

2. Staying in touch with friends and family back at home.

Being overwhelmed with school can feel very isolating. In addition to seeking out the company of your friends on campus, staying in touch with friends from high school and family back at home can further decrease feelings of loneliness and strengthen social ties that can get you through the tough times ahead. Getting to see them at the end of the semester will be the ultimate reward for all the hard work you will put into the next several weeks.

3. Taking things week by week to make academics less overwhelming.

If you are swamped with all the work you must complete before the academic year is over, only focusing on assignments due each week can greatly help. Weekly planners in which you can write down to-do lists can physically section off blocks of work so you don’t feel the urge to try to complete everything all in one go. If time allows, working on assignments ahead of time can also decrease the anxiety of handling academics.

4. Prioritizing self-care.

This seems like a no-brainer, but I’ve been guilty of forgoing adequate amount of sleep and proper eating habits in times of stress. By going to bed at least an hour earlier than usual and skipping the cheeseburger in the dining hall for something healthier, these seemingly small changes in routine will add up, leaving you refreshed to tackle papers and exams. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to balance self-care and academics.

5. Keeping in mind the exciting things that lie ahead in the future. 

The second half of the semester may seem dull now that the excitement leading up to spring break has come and gone. But in keeping up with academics, it’s always important to remember what your grades are going towards whether it be the declaration of a major, a summer internship or study abroad program in the semesters to come. Patience is virtue. 

If we could all at least choose one of these strategies to increase our motivation, the next month(s) will fly by before we can even open our mouths to say "summer vacation." After all, if we made it through one semester already, we can surely live to see the day we pack up our things and leave campus for the summer. 

Lead Image Credit: Bonnie Kittle via Unsplash

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Emily Luong - Smith College

Emily Luong is a first year student at Smith College (class of 2020) and plans to major in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. In high school, Emily was the Arts and Entertainment Editor of the school newspaper, an intern staff writer for the local newspaper, and the captain of the swim team. In her free time, Emily enjoys writing short stories, reading fantasy novels, and binge watching TV shows on Netflix. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @emilyjaieluong

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