Guide to getting out of the midsemester slump

photo of students walking on Sproul
Ganesh Pimpale/Staff

Related Posts

Halfway into the semester, some of us may be experiencing lower motivation levels as we’re struck by the vicious midsemester slump. If you’re anything like me, you may have also started counting down the number of weeks left until Thanksgiving break. Maybe you’re not as excited to go to class anymore or you’re procrastinating every single homework assignment until they all pile up the day of the deadline. Or maybe you’re spending longer in bed, dreading your 9 a.m. lecture and resigning to watching it in bed.

Amid my productivity slump, I was hit by a terrible case of food poisoning. I spent two days in bed, pretty much paralyzed by the pain and unable to look at a screen without feeling extremely nauseated. The following weekend, my dad came to spend the weekend with me in Berkeley. As an international student, a visiting parent at Berkeley isn’t exactly an ordinary event. I was ecstatic and decided to dedicate the entirety of my weekend to showing him some of my favorite spots around the city. 

My week consisted of distraction after distraction and, naturally, I didn’t exactly get much work done. This was especially unsettling after I had spent most of the previous weekend procrastinating on the majority of my assignments. Yet, there was something strangely productive about letting loose and focusing my attention on something different. With the excitement surrounding showing my dad around, I completely forgot about all my other commitments. I wasn’t worried about the upcoming midterms, nor was I feeling guilty about the time lost. And that excitement was strong enough to suppress my feelings of anxiety and stress. 

After the weekend, however, approaching school work felt different. I no longer dreaded the week and instead felt rather refreshed and ready to get back to my daily routine. 

Here are some ways you too can get out of that midsemester slump so you can regain focus of your goals:

List out your important dates

Make sure you write down all your due dates so that you don’t lose track of your commitments. Just take note of them though, don’t stress about them just yet. Although it’s important to take a break, we don’t want you to miss any important deadlines! 

Visit family (if you can)

Seeing a family member was just the distraction I needed. It reminded me of what’s important to me and helped me stay grounded. Spending time with family can help you dissociate from college for just a little bit, which will help you reset and regain focus returning to campus. 

Start getting enough sleep 

If you’re exhausted, the days will only seem longer and it will be harder to get your motivation back. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep every night so that you feel more energized when it’s time to get your work done. 

Treat yourself 

Sometimes creating these incentives might rekindle your motivation. Treat yourself to that nice dinner you’ve been craving, or go out for some ice cream. 

Take some time off

When I say this, I mean really take the time off. Whatever you decide to do during your time off, be fully present while you do it. Don’t think about school or work, just enjoy the moment. 

When you come back, go easy on yourself

Make a list of everything you have to do after having taken a break. If you’re like me, you might want to make a to-do list for every day of the week, so that you can get everything done on time. Ease into it though, you’re not going to become super productive from one day to the next. Start slow and pace yourself.

So there you have it. Remember to not be so hard on yourself — you got this!

Contact Salma Sarkis at [email protected].