Second Semester Slump

Eva Wozniczka, Morality Manager

The second semester is a time for new opportunities, to reset grades and a fresh start but for some students, the transition is more of a stressful time than an enjoyable one. Many students leave the first semester feeling tired and burnt-out. I ended the first semester of my senior year exhausted, unmotivated and most importantly burnt out. 

Ending and starting a semester in the span of one week is a dreadful experience. With no break between semesters, starting fresh feels impossible. Students are not offered a rest period, or a break to catch their breath before brand new classes start and the stress levels rise again. Senior Natalie Hutchinson agrees having a break in between semesters would be very beneficial, “It would have been really nice, I would have vouched for that because it’s like they throw so much on you in those last couple days. Then they’re like ‘okay now start completely over with a new schedule, new people.’”

New schedules seem like they would help, but instead, make the transition ten times worse. “I have talked to a lot of people and a lot of people hate their new schedules and I feel like if they had more time in between to get prepared and get ready it wouldn’t have been that bad,” said Hutchinson ‘22. Finding your new routine and meeting new teachers and students is never easy. I hate the first day of a new semester, it’s like hitting the repeat button on the first semester. The lack of motivation for schoolwork, the struggle to get out of bed, the repetitiveness of sitting through class; none of it goes away. We are just as tired as we were on the first day of school.  

Coping mechanisms and strategies are crucial to helping with burnout and lack of productivity. Lots of students ignore and dismiss signs of burnout. I have pushed aside and ignored my burnout, causing more stress and lack of motivation to do schoolwork. In the past, I used defensive coping skills, things that helped at the moment but did not fix the root of the problem. Finding healthy coping skills that work for you is a great way to help your burnout. Hutchinson ’22 shares her go-to coping skill when feeling stressed, “I would not be able to survive without Spotify…it’s the only thing that like keeps me pumped and because if I’m doing homework and like stressing myself out I’ll just turn on some music really loud and it really helps me to like get my stuff done.” 

Listening to music is a great way to recharge and bring some happiness to your school day. I find blasting music and singing along in the car a great way to de-stress. The coping mechanism I use the most is getting organized and making a priority list of all things I have to complete. It puts my thoughts down on paper for me to then check off when done. is UK’s top graduate coaching company, they outline some tools to overcome academic burnout. My favorite takeaways were “get help from your support system, take good care of yourself, rediscover your passion for the subject you are studying.” I think it is crucial to have others around you for help; someone to talk to and confide in. It is important to have someone to turn to when life gets overwhelming. I turn to my friends and parents for support. I practice self-care when I am at my lowest. I read books, journal, and take time off of my phone. I try to enjoy school when I can despite it being a stressful environment. Finding small things in the curriculum I enjoy doing makes homework and studying easier for me as well. 

All students go through burnout at some point in their high school career. Burnout comes and goes but never fully goes away. It is okay to have, students know the feeling very well. It is inevitable, most students cannot stop it from happening. What matters is how students address it. Look for the daily signs of burnout and find solutions to feel happier. School should be a positive space, not a stressful environment for students.