How to Push Through the Midpoint Doldrums and Succeed

woman drinking coffee while studying

When it comes to academic success, there’s excitement at the beginning of a course or semester and elation when you finish, but if you’re not careful, the midpoint doldrums can trip you up. While it’s tempting to slow down when you feel this way, the fact is staying on course is more important than ever. Try these tactics to refocus when you find yourself losing interest.


Restate Your Priorities


When you’re daydreaming about the last day of class, you may be a bit fuzzy on why exactly you’re attending school. Remind yourself of your academic and career goals. Doing this mindful step is likely to give you renewed enthusiasm about studying and doing well. Take a good look at your grade. If it’s lower than you’d like, you still have time to raise it by studying hard for the rest of the course and completing any extra credit work. A little extra effort might be all it takes to bump you up.


Create a Plan


A good plan for studying helps you focus. When you list a plan of action for how you’re going to complete all of your homework each week, along with attending class and living your life, this plan gives you a sense of control over the outcome and keeps you on task. Such time management techniques will help you prioritize your various tasks and get coursework done in an expedient manner. If you’re not sure what to add to your plan, think about all the time-consuming activities you have in a normal week. If it feels overwhelming, ask for help so you have enough time to study. If you’re strapped for time to cook or buy groceries, maybe it’s a good week to plan a take-out night, try a meal or grocery delivery service, or just make easy meals.


Create a Study Group


If you don’t already belong to a study group, consider forming one. Getting together, whether online or in-person, with fellow students in your town to review the coursework makes the process more enjoyable and will likely reenergize anyone who has been feeling the same doldrums. Study groups also provide you with welcome support during other stressful points in the course.


Reduce Interruptions


When you’re trying to focus, you definitely don’t want distractions that could pull you off course. Some of life’s interruptions are unavoidable, but there is a lot you can do to ensure that your study time is nearly distraction free. If possible, for a specified period of time, turn off your phone and don’t check text messages or voicemail. Study in a quiet space where no one is likely to interrupt you. If family or friends are nearby, let them know you don’t want to be disturbed for a set period of time. If your home is noisy, consider working at your local library.


Stay Healthy


The stress of being an adult learner, along with managing your other responsibilities, is likely to wear on you, which is why it’s so important to take care of yourself. Avoid muddled thinking and becoming ill by making sure to eat a well-balanced diet and avoiding sleep deprivation. Sometimes working out for a few minutes can refresh you and bring clarity and a renewed interest in what you’re working on. Take a walk, ride your bike, or do something active for a little while each day.


Have Some Fun


A surefire way of avoiding burnout is to take some time to enjoy yourself. After you study a certain number of hours, treat yourself with something you enjoy like a trip to the coffee shop or watch a favorite television show. Breaking your concentration for a time is likely to give you renewed enthusiasm once you sit back down to study.


When you look at the long road still ahead of you and get discouraged, remind yourself that many students feel the same. Use these tactics for pushing through the midpoint slump, and you’re sure to find yourself reenergized and ready to keep heading for the finish line. You’re closer to the end than you realize.


Written by Ashford University staff.

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