How to Survive The Mid-Semester Slump, According to Her Campus Conn Writers

With midterms, papers, and schoolwork piling up, November is a gloomy, stressful time of the semester. The days get shorter, and our to-do lists get longer. While it’s easy to feel disheartened and overwhelmed, the mid-semester slump is a college rite of passage. Her Campus writer share their tips for staying organized, focusing on their mental health, and getting work done during this hectic time.  

1. Journal

“My senior year is flying by at a terrifying speed! To try and slow down time I have taken to journaling. I jot down what I have done each week: activities, emotions, intellectually profound thoughts-the usual. It comforts me to document the time I know I will miss terribly in a year, even if I might cringe at how dramatic I make everything seem. At the same time, journaling forces me to put my phone down and focus on the task in front of me. After a 20-minute journal session, I feel calm and forget for a moment just how quickly life goes by.”

- Hanna ‘20

2. Take time to relax

“Last year, I would often stay up till the wee hours reading Ulysses for no real reason except that my mind was telling me if I did not finish reading the chapter tonight (even though it wasn’t due for two days), I would fail at life. This is unhealthy thinking!! My personal goal for this semester has been stopping work by no later than 9:30 PM (in an ideal world, 9 PM) or at worst, 10 PM if I have a major assignment due the next day. Instead of shutting off my lights at 1 AM, I now turn my lamp off at 11 PM after watching Netflix, scrolling through Instagram, meditating, and reading a few pages in my book. Reserving time at the end of the day to relax, recharge, and regroup is my secret for conquering the mid-semester slump. If you do not need to stay up late doing work, then don’t! Instead, take time to chill. Often we think that as college students we need to constantly be working, socializing, or being productive in some way, but this is just not true. But, if you need to convince yourself, just remember that relaxing is also a productive pastime.”

- Elizabeth ‘21

3. Keep up with a healthy diet

“During a busy weekday, I sometimes feel the hesitation to skip breakfast or only eat fries for lunch. Keeping up a healthy diet can be difficult when the stress of midterms kicks in, but it’s important to make sure you’re receiving your daily dose of fruits, vegetables, and protein! I try to pack extra granola bars in my bag and refill my water bottle before class to make sure I’m staying energized and hydrated throughout the day. Additionally, I try to stock my fridge full of fruit whenever I’m feeling dissatisfied with Harris’s options. Finally, whenever I go out to eat, I try to get something on the healthier side and keep the leftovers in my fridge so I have an alternative to grab-and-go on a busy weekday. If you take the time to fuel your body with good nutrients, you can prevent burnout and feel motivated to get your midterms done!”

- Sara ‘20

4. Keep on top of deadlines with a planning system that works for you

“Truth be told, a mid-semester slump is almost inevitable for me when I’m being thrown papers to write, and exams to study for from every-which direction. I’ve found that recording down every assignment and writing out all of my daily tasks is the best way for me to stay on track throughout these hectic weeks. Personally, I use my planner strictly for writing down upcoming deadlines and events, and I try to do so as soon as a professor announces an exam, quiz, or other deadline. For figuring out my plan of attack for these deadlines, I like to keep a separate journal. This way I structure each day the way I want to, whether that’s writing out every single task I have to do for that day, or writing out a full schedule for those days where I would much rather prefer to lie in bed and watch the hours go by. Planning this way makes me realize how precious time really is, and that there is, in fact, enough time for academics and for myself in any given day. Squeezing in that hour of leisure reading, watching an episode of a show, or even taking a quick nap into the list of things I want to get done keeps me from burning out mid-semester, and from feeling like I’ve been neglecting my mind and body at the expense of academic stress.”

- Meggie ‘23

5. Accept the slump, and know that things will get better

“This might sound cynical, but the best coping strategy that works for me is to just sit with the slump and accept it. I often beat myself up and become more anxious because I’m hitting a slump -- I’ll get mad at myself for not being productive and anxious that the work I turned in is sub-par. When I let my emotions get the best of me in this way, though, I find that the slump lasts longer and it becomes harder to get out of. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to just recognize that college has its ups and downs, some weeks are busier than others, and some days are more productive than others. You just have to take it day by day and do the best you can, while recognizing that your “best” might be different each day, and that’s okay.”

- Samantha ‘21

6. Grind now, relax later

“Procrastination is something that college students experience and it seems to get worse in the middle of the semester. It has happened to me. I don’t want to do any work whatsoever and I just want to lay in bed and do nothing. However, my work is going to have to get done at some point, and I’ll get a better grade if I don’t leave it until the last minute. So blocking out a portion of your day and just getting everything done is what I do. Say you finish lunch at 1, you eat dinner at 6, and you have no classes in between. Plan to do work for that 5 hours. So after dinner, you can just chill and relax without worrying or feeling guilty. It works for me and maybe it will work for you.”

- Elyce ‘22

How do you stay focused and healthy during the most stressful time of the semester? Let us know on Instagram