The Second Semester Slump

Does starting third quarter come with a lack of motivation?


Brooke Huffman

Sophomore Lizzie Kayser stresses over AP US History’s large workoad.

Brooke Huffman, Reporter

With the start of each school year comes a burst of new energy, newfound motivation, the decision that this year is going to be different. Sometimes this energy can carry you through the first week, the first month, the first quarter, the first semester if you’re lucky. Then it all comes tumbling downhill.

The little voice in the back of your head that used to keep you awake and attentive in class goes quiet, you start blowing off assignments, you fall into the same old cycle that you had decided to put an end to. Despite New Year’s resolutions, you’ve decided that rewatching “Friends” for the third time is much more important than passing Spanish, and hey, there’s no shame in that. It happens to the best of us.

This sudden lack of caring is most often referred to as the second semester slump, the complete disregard of all things school related as soon as you come back from winter break. Some people are immune to it, their high goals keep them in check day in and day out until graduation rolls around. Others don’t even wait until the second semester, they’re already snoring through science by the second day of school. Most of us slump at some point in time and usually that falls around the first or second week of third quarter.

Much like senioritis, the lack of motivation demonstrated by seniors because, “high school is basically over anyways,” second semester slump shows most of the same signs. Declining grades, backpacks stuffed with missing assignments, sleeping through the school day or just not showing up at all, are all common examples of a slumping student. It’s understandable, they both root from similar causes – the feeling that it’s all over, you can stop working because it’s practically summer already. It doesn’t help that January is filled with days off, whether planned or cancelled due to snow. It already feels like you’re on break, you’re becoming so accustomed to sleeping in that you refuse to wake up at six.

It’s understandable – stress is forced on students, you’re bound to snap at some point. Being expected to be the same student throughout the entire school year is like being expected to sprint for an entire marathon – it’s exhausting, and physically impossible. You’re running on hardly any sleep as is, staying up late due to rehearsals, practices, assignment after assignment and being expected to keep up an active social life doesn’t leave much time for rest.

So why the slump? It’s a side effect of spreading yourself too thin, putting too much effort into every area of your life, to the point where you don’t have the energy to put effort into anything. Even I’m writing this article the hour before it’s due, I’m not immune to slumps. By second semester, you’ve already gotten a taste of free time through winter break, and are craving breaks whenever you can get them. So you stop working. You doze off, you put off homework until the last minute. Next thing you know all of this work has started piling up, it’s too intimidating to tackle and you let it take over. Doing one assignment would mean doing all of them, you can’t even think about all of the work you have to do without stressing out, and you’re supposed to avoid stressors, right? You’re too far gone, doing all of this work now would mean no free time whatsoever, and who wants consequences for their actions?

So how to avoid the slump? You can’t, but you can work your way out of one. Stop overworking yourself, find a healthy balance between rest and school. Those four AP’s you were going to take might be a bit too much, being on the dance team and in the play might mean no time for yourself. If you keep yourself at a steady pace throughout the school year, work on good study habits, try to think ahead when it comes to doing assignment, you’ll be able to succeed in school without having a complete emotional collapse. When you fall into those slumps, dig yourself back out of them. Motivate yourself, stop waiting for the “perfect moment to write this paper” or a sudden burst of energy and just power through. Second semester slumps are inevitable, but that doesn’t mean they have to get the best of you.

So when next year rolls around and you find yourself getting overwhelmed, remember that it’s not too late to start motivating yourself and you don’t have to succumb to the second year slump.