Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Helsinki chapter.

One thing I’ve been dreading is mid-term burnout. You might not realize it until you notice an increase in stress and anxiety, affecting your behavior towards others and then confidence in your studies. It creeps up on you until you realize an overall change in energy and motivation and have the unfortunate feeling of being overwhelmed as the semester is still going and might pile things up. This might not disrupt things entirely; you still catch your deadlines and keep your daily activities going, however, in my experience, for example, there’s still stress, fatigue, and confidence in your work decreasing – as in, whether you’re doing your best.

If or when this becomes more evident, it may cause the mid-term blues. You’re not necessarily depressed which could disrupt your overall semester; but the amount of work with a slight decrease in motivation and then thinking of your initial expectations might cause you to be gloomy about your studies. How on earth do you avoid the mid-semester blues? You can’t help it – especially if you’re like me who always, every time, as the new academic year begins, sets more ambitious goals than those you had during the last spring semester. I still do this, though, because it makes me look forward to the new academic year. There’s nothing more awful while in university than thinking, “oh my god, here we go again” before another term.

When will I learn? Is this the right question? Perhaps, but then again, it would be silly not to set more ambitious goals because like I wrote earlier, their possible result is something to look forward to, and it doesn’t matter to what extent you achieve your ambitions since they can certainly change. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned during this past year that has been especially draining, it’s that despite it all, I have to have self-compassion.

This can be challenging because of expectations, set goals, and comparison to others that might make your ego act up since it’s the voice in your head that says, “you could do better.” Yes, I probably could, but I’ve also accepted that sometimes, my time management is just terrible. For me, nevertheless, it has been particularly challenging to be compassionate because I always worry if I’m actually doing my best. If not, what am I doing studying in the program in which I’m trying to get my degree? These anxious thoughts definitely add to exhaustion and increase the blues which has affected the way I work. I might get things done, but not with the amount of work I expected to put into a project to gain the most out of it.

However, you can’t help the amount of energy your mind can give and should not pressure it if you start to feel burnt out in the middle of the semester. I try get rid of these thoughts by reminding my sometimes-stubborn self that I am learning and gaining experience – in both my studies and with people (who never fail to test you, as you can imagine dear reader).

Of course, we’re always told that we never stop learning, however it’s become my life motto with “be sympathetic” – to myself and others – which has become especially important in the past year or two. These thoughts don’t take my mid-term blues away entirely, but they make it easier to bear since they remind me that I am achieving my learning goals. I’m not saying grades don’t matter, but they shouldn’t be the reason you apply to study in university since they’re not the thing that opens the world to us.

It’s not necessarily easy – being sympathetic to yourself and to others is a choice and it can be hard when you feel exhausted and maybe even a bit disappointed. However, this doesn’t justify for my mid-semester blues to take over entirely and make me harsh towards myself and others. It’s currently sitting with me, making me realize that I might be a bit overwhelmed, but encourages me to just accept it and deal with it by taking it easy and remembering to keep learning. If there’s one thing I can make sure of, it’s that I won’t keep my mind narrow.

An English major in University of Helsinki who adores culture's most valuable and beautiful subjects like literature and art.