It happens. You’ve had your fill of freshers’ fun, working out your nightlife routine, getting settled with your assignment duties, but then you have that afternoon of overthinking. Is this what I want to do? Is this even worth it?
I’ve been there, reaching what would have once been half term, and having a mid-semester burnout. A midnight chat with flatmates that turned into an ‘I’m quitting tomorrow morning and going home for a bubble bath and home-cooked meal’ moment. In reality? I actually ended up waiting that phase out, I cooked some questionable first fajitas with my 9 flatmates, I woke up 1 minute before ‘needing’ to walk to my 9am lecture, I handed in 15 assignments on one deadline day. Three years later, I graduated.
Ask your peers
Mid-semester burnouts are pretty commonplace. Despite the hush-hush over it all, I’d hazard a guess that most of your flatmates and/or coursemates are feeling the same. So talk it out. Drop it into conversation over your fourth Starbucks break of the day. Or be more dramatic and break down in your thinly carpeted hallway like I did. The chances are that one or more of your friends feel the same way.
Once you’ve broken the ice to a friend, just vent about why you’re feeling this way. Perhaps you’re feeling a little homesick – whether you know it or not – or maybe you’re just overwhelmed by the trickle of assignments. A problem shared is a problem halved, and your friend will know just how to combat it.
Feeling a bit beaten by the books is acceptable. The summer gone by is probably the longest you’ve ever had and it is a huge step up to be tackling University assignments that are, frankly, not spoon fed to you. Take an evening away from despairing at briefs and textbook tomes, and draw up a list of those deadlines instead.
Chronicle them into date order. And then divide that into groups of 3. You’ll instantly find this more manageable. Transfer the assignment title and deadline dates onto Post-it notes and pop these above your desk or by a window. Now take your diary (you do have one, right?) and work out how much spare time you have. Allocate 2 days a week for each deadline and divide those days into set tasks. For example:-
Subject: How to channel your inner Olivia Palermo
Deadline: 3rd December
Timeframe: 5 weeks
Week 1: Day 1 – Research Olivia’s background, atypical lifestyle and style. Day 2 – Determine a style guide for the project.
Week 2: Day 1 – Write 2 sections. Day 2 – 2x hours of reading to support theories (find 3 journal articles, 2 books).
Week 3: Day 1 – Write rest of project. Day 2 – Pad out the report with your research and quotes, case studies, etc.
Week 4: Day 1 – Write the introduction and conclusion. Day 2 – Proof read the project, tell your housemate to proof read it too.
Week 5: Day 1 – Make the small amendments. Day 2? Chill. Out. Whilst everyone else on your course panics.
Book a weekend home
Some may say that mid-semester burnout is owed to missing home and powering through those initial feelings of homesickness will be the best option. But sometimes, a trip home is just what you need. Head to Megabus, Red Spotted Hanky or Greyhound and book some affordable tickets home – Greyhound even has Wi-fi! – and just relax.
There’s some truth to be said when you return home for the first time and your parents/grandparents/dog/goldfish are immensely proud of your University achievements. That pride will instantly rub off on you, and you’ll return to your dreaded halls with a newfound confidence and regenerated hope. Home weekends are very humbling and the free food, working heating system and bathroom is a bonus too!
Michelle Chai is a self-confessed colour avoider, avid coffee enthusiast, multi-tasker extraordinaire and, by night, a regular fashion blogger at Daisybutter. She edits Aesthetic (both online and print) and really enjoys her ongoing quest for the perfect knit. FYI, this one came close to nabbing the title.