October 14, 2013

Getting Over the Mid-Semester Slump

CollegeDegrees360 via Flickr

Ah yes, the mid-semester slump. By now, the excitement of the new school year has dissipated, professors expect you to do real work, and more often, you find yourself reaching for sweatpants. The temptation to sleep for another couple of hours instead of heading to your morning class seems to grow by the day.

Three years into my university career I’ve found that inevitably, any motivation hits a wall around the fifth or sixth week. Between school, work, clubs, a social life, and taking care of yourself, you start to become a bit of a zombie. Here are a few tips to get you over the slump!

Stop Procrastinating

Just do it. Seriously. Procrastinating only delays the inevitable – even after watching an entire season of Breaking Bad, your project will still be due in 3 days. You’ll be even less motivated if you have two more papers and a presentation to finish too! (PS. There’s an app for that – my favourite is Self Control for Mac)


Look ahead at your class outlines – the last thing you need is to be writing that paper at the eleventh hour when you have a midterm the next day and a group presentation to finish. Scheduling lets you set priorities and work around them! For example, I do my best to work around the Canucks’ schedule. You have plenty of options to help you out with scheduling – the Calendar apps on your computer, Google Calendar, and your phone (because let’s be honest, you don’t leave home without it). Hey, you can even kick it old school and write it down in an agenda!

Start Your Day Off Productively

As soon as you have your morning coffee, use that burst of energy to get big tasks out of the way. You’re more productive in the morning – once you’ve woken up, that is – and there are less distractions at 9am than at 9pm. That great feeling of crossing it off of your to-do list will spark your inner keener. Plus, you’ll open up your evening for more fun!

Mix It Up

Are the temptations of your laptop, TV, fridge, and warm, cozy bed too much for you?  If so, why not try the public library or a coffee shop? Are group study sessions are really just gossip sessions or are you someone who needs an extra push from your friends to actually hit the books? Consider what is distracting you and switch up your study routine to find what works best!

Don’t Forget About Me Time

While you’re scheduling, be sure to include enough time to sleep, eat, exercise, and shower (this one’s important!). Compounding the mental stress with the physical stress of treating yourself like crap won’t help. You’ll be more productive with a good night’s sleep. Exercise releases endorphins, and endorphins make you happy! Most importantly, showers are for your own good and that of everyone around you. After a long, hard week at school, feel free to let yourself relax a little bit! Go see a movie, shop ‘til you drop, have a drink (or four) because well… why not?!

Are your friends distracting you? (Image by Saad Faruque via Flickr)

Are your friends distracting you?
(Image by Saad Faruque via Flickr)

Take it from an experienced procrastinator (seriously, I actually used to make schedules as a way to avoid doing real homework…) and get ahead of the game. Hopefully, these tips let you regain some semblance of organization amidst the insanity that is midterm season. Take control and don’t let school consume you, because in 20 years you probably won’t even remember how you did on that one econ assignment. Besides, you still have finals to worry about!


Featured Image by CollegeDegrees360 via Flickr

About the Author

Dalena Nguyen
Dalena Nguyen
Dalena is a final year Business student at Simon Fraser University and is former editor of Recultured. She is a self-professed social media junkie, a Canucks fan, and an impulse shopper. When she's not running from meeting to meeting or trying to find her next meal, you can find her on Twitter @dalenanguyen_!

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