The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
We’ve all been there: your semester starts off strong. You’re spending time with your friends, enjoying your classes, and feeling motivated to study. Then, midterm season rolls around, and your world is suddenly filled with barely anything but exams, papers, and hours poring over textbooks, and college is a lot less glamorous than it used to be. It can be so easy to get caught in this rut, and if you’re anything like me, you might even question if it’s worth sticking through the mid-semester slump. Instead of spending precious time reminiscing on days where you weren’t stuck studying and wishing to be back there, here are some ways you can rekindle your love for your college experience and make the most of it.
Take a break.
No, I don’t mean the ten-minute turned hour-long study break where you scroll through TikTok. It sounds so simple, but sometimes just putting your mind on “pause” for a little while can make you feel a lot better. Whether that’s reserving a half hour per day to do something that’s important to you, or taking a full mental health day to practice self-care, breaks can be productive.
Join a new club or go to a new activity.
Remember that poster for a club or event that you glanced at the other day and briefly thought looked interesting? Go revisit it! If you’re having a hard time feeling like you’re involved enough with your campus outside of academics and maybe a couple extracurriculars, going to events that sound interesting is a great way to spend a couple hours and maybe even find some new friends. A perfect example: a couple weeks ago, as I was leaving my standard study spot in Denison’s biology building, I saw a poster for a “paint and relax” event hosted at our wellness center. On a whim, I decided to go, and I actually ran into a friend that I hadn’t seen since last year because of our busy schedules, and after spending the evening painting with her and everyone else there, I felt a lot more relaxed and at home at my school.
Rethink your major/minor.
It sounds drastic, but the field that you study in college ends up accounting for a lot of your time because of required classes and coursework. If you find yourself completely unengaged with the material required for your major classes or feel like you can’t see yourself working in a related field in the future, it might be time for an honest conversation with your academic advisor about if your major or minor is right for you. Every major is going to be difficult in one way or another, and a lot of times it’s worth working through the harder aspects of it, but if you feel disconnected from what you’re working on and don’t see a path forward, making some adjustments might be necessary. This could mean switching your field of study altogether if you have the time and ability to, or it could mean taking courses that you feel more engaged with when you have room in your schedule. From personal experience, I added an English minor after taking an English course and realizing that it was a classroom setting where I felt comfortable, yet challenged, and that minor has balanced out my major to the point where college coursework feels a lot more manageable.
Reconnect with friends.
Especially during exam season, it can be difficult to maintain frequent contact with your friends, between studying, sports, rehearsals, etc. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or less than thrilled with college, it’s likely that at least some of your friends are feeling the same way. Lean on each other, and make time for one another whenever possible. My friends and I schedule “fifteen-minute debriefs” at least every other evening so that we can catch up with and check in on each other. You can also make study dates with friends, especially if you take the same or similar classes!
Reflect on your dorm or living arrangements.
Living with and/or close to other people can be challenging, and a lot of college dorm arrangements don’t exactly feel like home. Though you can’t always make changes to your living situation mid-semester, if you feel like it’s having a negative impact on your time at college, there are some ways to improve it. From simple fixes like DIYing some new decor to make your space feel more like a home, to setting boundaries with your roommate, taking steps to make your personal space feel comfortable can go a long way in improving how you feel about college overall. For example- last year, I moved into a smaller designated “quiet” house after living in a traditional dorm for five weeks and realizing that I did not do well living in loud environments, and it made my experience a lot better.
Don’t pressure yourself into having a “perfect” college experience.
I’m sure we’ve all heard that college is supposed to be the best four years of your life. That isn’t always the case. We all flourish in different environments, and it’s okay if college isn’t the place where you feel the most at home. Still, there are ways to improve your experience and reestablish at least some of the reasons why you chose your school in the first place. There will probably always be a mid-semester slump in college, and you shouldn’t feel bad if you struggle to find much good with your school during these stressful weeks, but there are ways to make your college experience better despite these difficult times.