Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash [person pouring coffee into a mug with the word "ugh" written on it]
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Mid-Semester Slump

It’s that time of the semester again. You’ve taught your Nth English Composition library instruction session/info lit class/freshman seminar. Everyone is sick–including you. That 3rd cup of coffee doesn’t quite pack the same punch. All of the deadlines for all of the writing projects that you were so excited about are all looming in the semi-immediate horizon. You’ve hit the Mid-Semester Slump, and it sucks.

It happens every year, and almost always hits hardest in the fall. Yet every fall I’m surprised when it happens. I can’t quite figure out why my energy is so low and I can’t quite shake what should have been a 3-day cold 2 weeks later. All hopes of a regular exercise schedule feel like a pipe dream, but I was just able to accomplish that a few weeks earlier. What is it about the midterm that makes life and work so difficult and dreary? Is it the repetition? The stress? Something else?

I’m trying to make my way out of the slump with excessive amounts of coffee and croissants, but they just aren’t quite doing the trick. I’m starting to attribute these feelings to the garbage fire that is the news in this country coupled with being a latina in it. That said, my work is still my work and my family still needs my best self. So what are your suggestions for getting through this slog? What’s worked for you in previous semesters? How do you take care of yourself and revitalize your feelings when the semester starts to the feel like a drag?



  1. Maura Smale

    Wow, yeah, it is *so* that time of the semester. My spouse came home from the store last weekend with envelopes of bath salts for each of us (including my teenager, for whom it’s also that time of the semester). It had been a long time since I’d taken a lavender bubble bath, and it was delightful. Highly recommend!

  2. I know just what you mean and I wish I had a can’t-miss answer to it. I think we all need different things to stay engaged and excited about our work when it becomes a slog. I’m big on forcing myself to try at least one new thing in every class I teach. It keeps me on my toes and makes everything feel new again. Later in the term I also try to carve out time for learning — watching an archived webinar, reading article, etc. Connecting with colleagues outside of my place of work (though I also LOVE my colleagues at work) also helps me feel renewed. Good luck making it through the semester in one piece!

    • admin

      Thank you for these suggestions, Meredith! I really like that idea about changing things up in classes. I definitely need to be better about connecting with people in general 🙂

  3. Jessica

    I’m right there with you. I’ve been relying on my SAD light heavily and also sleeping a ton (my normal response to stress). Some things I have been trying in terms of self-care: remembering to drink water and eat vegetables, exercising a few times a week, and also getting back in the meditation habit. In the more fun part of self-care, Sunday night sheet masks have been so enjoyable to me, and also lots and lots of kpop ^_^

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