Why do you love college?
Is it the excitement of pursuing a degree that will help you get your dream career, or the confidence that comes from the knowledge that you are a student of higher education? Maybe it’s something completely different - like the joy you get from spending time with your friends, or the thrill that you feel from being an independent adult. Whether you are taking classes online, in person, or a combination of both this spring - sometimes it’s hard to cling to the excitement of being a college student. The first semester of any school year tends to fly by with highs and lows too numerous to count, but after winter break?
The spring slump hits.
Coming back to campus (physically or virtually) seems a lot harder when the weather is colder and the promise of the holidays isn’t around the corner. Instead of jumping into a fresh new year - it almost feels like a drag. Are your classes less interesting than the ones you had last semester? Is it starting to sink-in that your friends, or maybe even you, are graduating after spring passes? The slow passing tides of the spring semester of a college school year tend to make any potentially scary or sad events that lurk in the future appear even more frightening or depressing. The days may be shorter and the temperatures may be lower, but there’s one beautiful benefit that spring has that fall doesn’t: the approach of summer. We’re slowly but surely chugging our way into the season of sunshine.
There’s a finish line in sight! In the meantime, however, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying each passing day for the little things that they provide. While many schools have cancelled spring break, who’s to say you don’t clear up your schedule for a day and treat yourself to a day of self care? Self care can be a big gesture to yourself, like buying something expensive or taking a full day off, or it can be small, like painting your nails or ordering your favorite takeout for dinner. The only person in your life that can make you feel better is you - never forget that. There are a lot of responsibilities floating around in the world, and a lot of stressors that you need to keep your eye on, but if you feel yourself fizzling out, you need to realize that you need to prioritize your rest and recovery as well as your work. A “spring slump” stems from the idea that we tend to be less peppy after the fall passes, and while the precipice of change and growth is upon us, it is often hard to stick to all of those big new year’s resolutions that we may have made ourselves. Instead of feeling bad about not “cutting out carbs” or “running every day,” look ahead. You don’t have to be perfect and make all of these big changes just because it’s a new year - self growth and discovery is a slow and tedious process that can be fun if you know how to enjoy your own company. Relax.
Academically, it can sometimes be extremely hard to just keep plugging along and keep putting in all of your effort when you aren’t given a break, but the important thing to remember is that hard work pays off. Inspiration may be hard to come by (especially when you already feel like you’ve reached your limit after going through midterms and finals last semester), but it’s not extinct. Try to remember why you’re putting yourself through all of this pain, and remember how excited you were to attend college in the first place! Motivation to study is something that you don’t necessarily have to hunt for alone, and now is a great time to turn towards your greek-life fam and your friends to ask for a push of stamina. As the great movie classic “High School Musical” states: we’re all in this together. Everyone has a hard time in school, whether they tell you about it or not, and organizing (socially distanced) study nights with your friends can be a great way to hold yourself accountable academically, while still enjoying the company of those around you and not isolating yourself right off the bat this semester. If you’re a virtual student, try reaching out to a friend or classmate and organizing a study session on FaceTime or Zoom - odds are that student is also probably looking to study more for your class, and it never hurts to hit the books a bit more if you’re worried about an upcoming exam or quiz. Don’t let yourself slack off just because it’s a new semester! The start of a semester is a great time to start instilling good study habits within yourself, and if you take the time to truly focus on what you are learning, you might find yourself enjoying your classes (or, you know, at least feeling like you’re getting your tuition money’s worth).
All in all, a slump can happen anytime of the year, but the important thing to remember is that it’s temporary. You will come out of it, and everything will be okay. With these uncertain times around us, getting into a rut and feeling unproductive or sluggish is perfectly normal. College isn’t about being perfect, it’s about facing difficulties and making it through.
You’ve got this - now go have a great spring semester.