The second semester slump: that seemingly never-ending stretch of 16 weeks many students endure every spring. While there may be fewer social events and breaks, there’s a lot more to do: searching for summer jobs, figuring out where you’re going to live next year, and generally recovering from fall semester burn-out. How does one survive? At first glance, this can appear quite challenging, but luckily, I’ve had some experience with this and am happy to share a few survival tactics with you! I hope these tips will help you find reasons to enjoy this spring and discover outlets that will help you survive the dreaded “second semester slump.”
Find a major that speaks to you. For many students at my school [the University of Nebraska-Lincoln], second semester of your freshman year is usually when you declare a major. While that may seem daunting on the surface, it is vital to defining your academic plans and future career. The good news is that this major doesn’t have to be the one you graduate with! How am I supposed to know what I want to do with the rest of my life when I can barely choose an outfit in the morning? I originally started my college career as a political science major on the pre-law track. One day, I realized that I excel in math and science classes and should chose a major that emphasizes those areas, so I decided on engineering and haven’t looked back since! Talk with an advisor or mentor to help you narrow down the options and pick a major that maximizes your strengths and inspires you. Pursuing a major that speaks to you is key to staying focused and motivated during particularly tough times of the year like second semester.
Pause your Netflix marathon and get involved! I say this because your to-do list won’t get any shorter if you binge watch an entire season of Grey’s Anatomy. Trust me, I’ve been there. Procrastination can be extremely detrimental, especially when the assignments, group projects, summer job searches, and extra-curricular activities are piling up, like they always do during spring semester. For me, I was offered the chance to campaign for a student government position within the College of Engineering on my campus. Knowing I have the opportunity to make real changes on campus and affect the entire student body is more interesting to me than finishing an episode of my favorite show! Find your passion on your campus or in your community, get out there, and make a difference!
SPRING BREAK. Do something fun! You don’t have to spend money, but you do have to do something for yourself—something that doesn’t include staring at the stack of textbooks across from you. Use your school’s spring break to relax, rejuvenate, and recharge. I will be traveling to Lima, Peru, this March with the MEDLife (Medicine, Education, and Distribution to Low-Income Families Everywhere) organization. This mission trip will provide basic medical needs to the indigenous residents of the area. I have found that doing something for others is a great way to keep life in perspective and keep me inspired. Taking a break from coursework, even just for a week, is how I get geared up for the last half of the semester in order to tackle final exam preparation.
Always have something to look forward to! I can’t stress this enough because it is one of the only ways you will get through the second semester while still maintaining a positive attitude. Put something exciting on your calendar that will help you cross days off as you work through the semester. For me, I strive to have a short-term and a long-term adventure. For example, I am looking forward to going home for a quick visit this weekend. On the broader horizon, I have the wonderful opportunity to study abroad in Bilbao, Spain, this summer! Having something exciting to look forward to helps make the walk to my 8 a.m. class in frigid temperatures much more bearable!
Despite the dreary outlook many associate with the spring semester, it is possible to overcome the second semester slump and make this semester even better than the first. Now that you’ve read my tips, think about how you will survive the second semester slump and help your sisters get through it, too!
What are you looking forward to that will help you survive the second semester slump? Here at Theta Foundation, we're counting down the days until Grand Convention 2016! What better way to make the days fly by than by honoring the special Thetas in your life with pansies? Pansy Patch is back, and it's in full bloom! Send a sister a pansy through www.PansyPatch.org as an investment in all of Theta's Leading Women.
This blog post is part of the Scholar Blogger series, showcasing four of Theta Foundation's scholarship recipients who are sharing their experiences, insight, and advice on topics relevant to all students. Learn more about the Scholar Blogger series here.