What's Your Motivation? How to Beat the Second-Semester Slump and Finish Strong

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By Elisabeth Apanda

After a fun-filled spring break, college students around the country find themselves staring down a bleak six weeks packed with exams, essays, and finals.

If you're currently a co-ed, where there once was genuine interest in your classes, you may now be struggling to readjust to your tried and true routine. It’s called the “post-break slump,” and it affects students nationwide — wreaking havoc on year-end results.

Here's the good news: Armed with the five simple steps that follow, you have a chance to wave goodbye to that dip in energy, regain motivation, and finish the second semester strong!

Change Your Mindset

Avoid the temptation to coast through the last month and a half of the semester. Now is not the time to dive into your bed and fire up Netflix, as appealing as it sounds. Instead, regularly remind yourself to maintain the standard you set earlier in the semester. If your scores aren’t where you want them to be, even more reason to hit the books. The weeks that remain are precious, and they could offer you the chance to right the course of your GPA. After all — you can do anything for just a few more Mondays, right?

Embrace Adventure

It’s amazing what a little off-the-clock spontaneity can do for your in-class motivation. Weekends offer the perfect chance to escape from a stressful weekday schedule. In fact, doing something different can reinvigorate your senses and spark your creativity. And we’re not reaching for the stars, here either. Take a low-cost, no-stress approach by trying a new campus dining hall, visiting the rec center for some rock climbing, or checking out local parks for some much-needed personal time.

Be Proactive

That essay isn’t going to write itself. For less stress and more productivity, resist the urge to procrastinate and start your assignments days — even weeks — ahead of their deadlines. We suggest dividing an assignment into bite-sized sections, tackling 10 to 20 minutes each day over the course of a week or two. That spaced-out approach could mean the difference between a manageable month and an all-nighter (and subsequent lousy score).

Take scheduled Breaks

There’s no law that states you have to finish an assignment in one sitting. In fact, research shows it’s actually better if you stop every now and then to give your brain a break. To make the most of your time, allow yourself a five minute breather for every 45 minutes of work you complete. Though it may not seem like long, doing something relaxing after a focused stint can help you learn faster.

Switch it up

Whether this means studying in a different building or petting your school’s on-campus therapy dogs during finals week (it’s a real thing, we promise!), slightly diversifying your normal routine can lift you out of the slump you’ve been stuck in. If you have a designated time for homework but have been struggling lately, switch up your schedule and see what happens. A change in scenery can help break any negative associations you may have built up around studying and, instead, create an opportunity to start fresh.

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CampusCaitlin Ryan