The Second Semester Slump

Neil Agarwal '20

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Entering school for the first time after a long winter break, most US boys probably wished to get back into their pajamas and go back to spending their days in front of the television. Entering the hallowed halls of University School after winter break for the third year in a row, I was struck by everybody’s glum and downright depressing expressions. During the second week, everybody but the seniors seemed to be stressed out, as if two weeks of relaxation wore off in less than a day. This effect is seen from freshmen to juniors, and even some studious seniors. What went wrong?

What you are feeling is called the “Second Semester Slump” (SSS) and don’t worry, you’re not alone. Everybody from high schoolers to college students feels its drastic effects, which can affect productivity, social relations, academics, and other things. A typical symptom of SSS is a “slump”, or a decrease of achievement in the classroom as compared to the previous semester, most often with lower grades on assignments. There was even a study done on this particular matter by, which analyzed the performance of 23 undergraduate freshmen and consistently found that second semester GPA’s were lower than first semester GPA’s, even as sophomores.1 It’s a universal problem, and the first step at curing the SSS is to first come to terms with it. If you have had a lack of motivation, constantly yearn for another extended break, or have had your grades slip, it’s time to accept that you may have SSS.

Never fear! I have collected tips to aid you on your journey to cure the SSS. One way that I have gotten my mind focused back on academics is by using Headspace™. Headspace is a popular app when it comes to stress relief. It is an app that specializes in meditation. While meditation might not seem like a good course of action, I can attest to its wondrous effects on concentration. If you don’t think that meditation is going to be your cup of tea, I suggest you at least try it, as it’s important for people to try new things to get ahead of the game.

The University of Minnesota suggested a few ways to deal with the SSS. They say that: “Exercising regularly, eating better, and studying are great habits to develop. You will not only feel better, but you’ll begin solidifying a routine and a routine gives you something to look forward to every day”.2 I would suggest creating a schedule: set time for homework, sports, and other activities. Creating this schedule will put you into a routine and set you up for success in the second semester.

These tips and suggestions that I have laid out for you above can all be boiled down to reducing stress through meditation and creating a rigid schedule for yourself. With these nuggets of knowledge, you will conquer second semester and vanquish the SSS for good!


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The Second Semester Slump