Graphic by Michael Schwartz and Ted Boyer
More than just leaves are falling across campus. This is time of the year when many students also feel their motivation falling.
Assignments are due with increasing frequency, days are getting colder and darker and holiday breaks seem far off. These things sap a person’s energy according to Gregory Robinson, psychologist at UA’s testing and counseling center.
Those most likely to succeed during the midterm slump are those who have a plan of action.
Students should have a “built-in routine around taking care of themselves,” Robinson recommends. That routine should include eating right and exercising, but also “doing what keeps you happy.”
That means different things for different people. Joe Zazo, a senior English and education major, heads to the gym to relieve stress and clear his head.
“It’s a great change of pace from sitting in a classroom or in front of a computer screen,” Zazo said.
Jessica Nance, a painting and drawing major, stops to doodle characters on the side of her notebook.
“Minor distractions give you a moment to rest,” said Kimberly Roby, an anthropology major. Roby likes to give herself a goal and then reward herself with something like watching a new TV episode once the goal is reached.
Students should stay in contact with their friends and balance their studies with social life. “When things get busy, people have a tendency to cut out things that are fun,” Robinson said.
It can’t all be fun and games. College is hard work and requires commitment. Students must face the reality of their situation to be successful.
Those who regularly put aside time for studying are better off than those who simply hope that time will be available, Robinson said. “You have to decide you’re going to get busy whether you want to or not.”
A long-term plan for the 15-week semester can help students endure the times they feel less motivated. Sometimes that means getting started early on assignments.
It’s important to keep the end goal in mind. Think about why you are investing time and money into college and where all your hard work will take you.
“Whenever I feel the pressures, I try to stay focused on the big picture, which is starting my career,” said Zazo. “Too much work and no fun can be bad, but the same can be said for too much fun and too little work.”
To sum it up, find a plan that strikes a balance between social life and studies.
Students shouldn’t be too hard on themselves if they’re not there yet. Students tend to get better with each successive semester at learning what they need to do in order to succeed in school.
Midterm season can be a difficult time for any student, but it is important to find a plan and let it fall into place.