It is finally November. Happy semi-annual mid-semester slump! We have reached the time of year when 8:30 classes have become impossible, and 10:30s are pushing it. Don’t even get me started on 3:30 and 4:45 classes–those don’t exist in my schedule anymore. The early darkening weather makes it too cold to fall asleep peacefully, yet too difficult to leave the bed, even if I have to use the bathroom. Sure, it was great seeing all the beautiful leaves changing colors and wearing warm sweaters with scarves and randos wearing flannel… but now, that’s all over. Professors have decided to give us less than three weeks from our second mid-term to the third mid-term so they can get it over with before Thanksgiving break… or make us write 15-page papers during the break just for the fun of it. Thanks, guys, really.
The term mid-semester slump is an endemic-pending WebMD diagnosis defined as, “The point at which all motivation takes a drop down the roller coaster without a seatbelt.” My once library-filled days are now traded out for staring at a wall and counting down the hours to when I can go to bed. Papers and homework are asking for extensions, in fact, even pleading. My pencil sits limply in my hand as my mind is blank as soon as I stare into the void of an exam. Most of my friends cannot wait until Thanksgiving to see family, friends, and eat good food, while I cannot wait for the fucking week-long break. I am so done, and so tired. Please, someone, give me a lobotomy! I have become a procrastinating prodigy who lives in an Adderall-fueled fever dream with a disoriented daze of starting an assignment at 2 a.m., only two hours after it was due, and finishing at 4 a.m. Please don’t ask if I will be in my 8:30 class to drop in for my iClicker.
I have no energy anymore. The little devil on my shoulder convinced me three times to drop one of my 4-credit classes for an academic catharsis. Sighs have become louder and more irritated, and slumps have a deeper hunch as weeks feel so slow but yet so fast. It’s Friday, Sunday, and Wednesday at the same time. Gosh, my backpack is probably half my weight. I usually have enough energy to hang out with friends on Friday nights or weekends, but not anymore. I cannot bring myself to even think about going out anymore. A big thank you/I love you to all of my friends who threw Halloween parties (you all looked amazing)–I thought I was ready for them, but ended up staying for 10 minutes before walking home in the cold to have a bowl of cereal and then go to bed. I am deemed too old to trick-or-treat but too young to die. Maybe my internal 90-year-old grand self is conjured out with a warm cup of sleepy-time tea, and a Dostoevsky novel before bed is the only thing that gets me through the day.
According to Reddit (because they know everything), the key to getting rid of the mid-semester slump is to… drum roll please… ‘look around!’ Well, that seems easy enough, right? As my professors start sounding like the adults in Charlie Brown, I look at the half-empty classrooms, and I have a sudden impulse to close my nose between the binder rings to feel something or pull the fire alarm to just leave. You’re here while they are not, working towards your career. GOD, I hate this. The agonizing days are so slow! I have tried to change my study spaces and listen to new music (I always end up cycling through to Ultraviolence by Lana del Rey this time of year) and try to go outside more and limit my media intake. But how did I end up at Billings Library scrolling through soundless Tiktoks for the past hour with half a 3-page paper due tonight and only a single word written? Academic guilt has buried itself deep into the back of my mind and imposter syndrome constantly swells in my throat. Call me a bear because I am physically hibernating in sweatshirts and mentally hibernating in my head. I lull around campus and drift between classes. I have morphed into a diminutive, ghastly being with no direction or purpose. I simply exist to get through the day. There is not enough caffeine to get me through this. Or maybe that’s just my ADHD.
I have even reached a point where I cannot even watch movies anymore. My attention span is incapable of lasting that long. After 30 minutes, I am rolling around on the floor. I just have no interest, zilch! I fell asleep through Hereditary and Rocky Horror this weekend (I am sorry), but yet I can watch all of the reruns of Gilmore Girls, and upon reaching season 3 (for the sixth time), Rory is pissing me off. I am yearning for change, like maybe I’ll wake up with a boyfriend, that I become world famous, or Keanu Reeves is actually my dad. But alas, reality is the dimension I exist in, and all of my hopes are not. Even my dreams are blank and dormantly static. The once held visions of success have faded, obscured by repetitive days and sleepless nights.
In the end, the mid-semester slump, with its repetitive days and lulling pace, may be a test of resilience and determination. The endless purgatory really sucks! Every day feels like a weary reenactment of the last, as if I were stuck on Groundhog Day. Morning routines have become more predictable with shutting off alarm clocks for the third time (or missing them, whoops), staring at my breakfast, hoping it will bust out in a happy dance or something, and heavy books trailing behind me. The campus has begun to echo with the same footsteps, same faces, same chatter, and same rustling of exasperation. It’s all the same and nothing new.
I just hope for this period of academic ennui to evaporate slowly over the break. Maybe I’ll have a little more push to get through finals week–oh god, not finals week already, dammit. I hope to be rejuvenated duriwng Christmas break like Jesus reborn–or saved from something. I do not often pray, but I am on my hands and knees, begging that I will not just be dragging my bones around campus again throughout the spring semester as the new battles include the snow, icy wind, and crying outside on the Waterman Green. I hope you get through your mid-semester slump very soon.