9 Ways to Get Through Your Midsemester Slump

By midpoint through the semester, the newness and excitement has worn off and motivation starts to wane as you focus on the mountain of work ahead. Here are 9 ways to keep momentum going through the end of your semester.

By midpoint through the semester, the newness and excitement has worn off and motivation starts to wane as you focus on the mountain of work ahead. Here are 9 ways to keep momentum going through the end of your semester:

1. Assess the situation

Halfway through the semester is a good time to evaluate where you are academically and where you want to be by the end of the semester. There’s still enough time to bring a bad grade up or take a project from good to great. Are you trying to turn a D into a C or maintain your honor roll status? All of your goals need attention and periodic check-ins. Do you need some one-on-one time with your professor? Could you do any extra credit? Do you need a tutor? Form a plan now and stick with it so that you end your semester on a good note.

2. Take care of your health

This is also the time of year that students get tired, run-down, and overwhelmed. Learn to check in with yourself and give your body the care it needs both physically AND mentally. Take your vitamins. Go for a 30-minute walk. Sleep an extra hour. Eat some vegetables. Proper nutrition will do wonders for your energy and productivity. We cannon subsist on coffee and granola bars alone!

3. It’s not too late to make a change

By now, you've probably fallen into old habits. One of the great things about grad school is that you’re not only learning about your profession, but through the strenuous circumstances, you’re also learning about yourself and how you tackle obstacles. If you have a habit of waiting until the last minute, make a small change and start getting to class a few minutes early. Go to the library and study for an hour after lecture is over. Great accomplishments and habits are made up of small, consistent changes. You don’t have to change everything at once, so pick something small and attainable and get to work!

4. Go see your professor

This is also the time to go see your professor if you need some extra help or advice. Don’t wait until the evening before the final exam! Show that you’re interested now and your teachers will be more likely to help or throw some extra credit your way. Being present and asking questions along the way will show that you’re an engaged, serious student who cares about learning the material.

5. Take a break

To be your most productive, you should be taking a 10-minute break for every 50 minutes of work. Stretch, take some deep breaths, or listen to your favorite song.

6. Keep showing up

As much as you want to skip class to study for another class or catch an extra hour of sleep, it’s important to keep showing up. If you let one class slide now, you’ll be playing catch up next time exams roll around.

7. Recharge

Recharging is different than taking a study break. It's getting out and doing something you love. As a student, you always feel like you should be studying, but if you've been proactive, you should be able to afford a little time to yourself. Spend some time watching a football game, getting a massage, visiting family, or going to the gym and you’ll feel more energetic when it’s time to tackle your medicinal chemistry homework.

8. Gratitude

Find joy in one thing a day. This time of your life is so temporary even though it’s hard to feel that way when you’re buried under exams and projects. Pick something that you’re thankful for and focus on that when you’re feeling down about everything you have to do or how you have no time to yourself.

9. Get involved

Now is the time in the semester when you know what your workload is and what you have left to give. Even having a small role in an organization will make you more well-rounded.


A lot of our stress is self-induced and is the culmination of comparing ourselves to how others are doing, managing high standards we set for ourselves and worrying about letting people down. Tune out the noise and focus on what you need to do to make this semester a successful one, whether that’s turning in some extra credit, spending extra time with your professors, or just taking the time to recharge and go for a walk. Remember, this too shall pass.