The Mid-Semester Slump and His Sister, Negative Nelly

14 Oct

The middle of the first semester can be extremely tough on us students. In the midst of midterms, essays, office hours, and the more-common-than-not homesickness, it can be quite a challenge to wake up in the morning with the motivation to make it through another school day. Staying positive isn’t the easiest task in the world and in all honesty, students just get tired. This is definitely one of the few times of the year when that extra push from a family member or a friend becomes invaluable.

So what is a busy, first-time college student to do? Many students aren’t sure quite how to handle such a full plate and still manage to keep a good outlook on school, work, and their social lives. My first year, I found that a simple call home to vent helped me regain my flow. Talking to my loved ones always reminded me that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that all of the hard work being exerted right now is more than worth it in a few years. If your student isn’t the type to call home first, take that extra minute to check up on them. Ask them how they’re doing and provide them with some words of encouragement. A ten-minute conversation can provoke a turn around for a struggling student and maybe even provide some relief from homesickness, even if only for a bit. Sometimes, it can be easy for students to forget that a good pep talk is only a phone call away.

Other times, taking a breather from school and all that comes with it can relieve the stress that piles up along with our homework. When we hold in our frustration, it’s easy to fall into a negative state of mind. It can really ruin a potentially good week when students resort to negative, possibly angry or irritated thoughts all because of the five homework assignments, three essays, and two exams looming over their heads. In my opinion, there is nothing more satisfying than going out into nature, taking it all in, and letting everything else go. Luckily, Tucson is well known for its beautiful hikes to help clear the mind. A quick get-away to Sabino Canyon or Mt. Lemmon can turn a bad week into a good one. The fresh air and the beautiful scenery can remind us that there’s more to life than sitting in a study room knocking our brains to try and figure out that last calculus problem. If that’s not an option, a good book can do the trick as well. Things like yoga and meditation or even just squeezing in some sleep can help students get rid of a lot of pent up negativity. Really, anything that is enjoyable will make a hard week go by a little more smoothly.

Staying positive doesn’t always come as naturally as we’d like it to sometimes, and that’s alright. Expecting to be positive all the time isn’t logical but that isn’t to suggest that it’s okay to stay in that mind-frame. It’s the little things that can help bring a student out of their mid-semester slump: an encouraging message from home, some fresh air, meditation, sleep. Still, it’s important to remember that students won’t usually be the first to admit they’re having a hard time. Taking the time to make sure life and school are going well can help give us that extra little push so that we can continue to be successful. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your student and remind them that they have everything they need to make it to the finish line.



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