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Overcoming Mid-Semester Burnout

Updated: Mar 29

Congratulations! You’ve made it to Week Seven! It’s the middle of Semester and you may be starting to feel as though you’ve lost all your motivation. People throw the term ‘burnout’ around a lot, but what does it actually mean? According to Reach Out, exhaustion from long-term stress can prevent you from taking part in activities that you find meaningful. You may find it difficult to care and put effort into tasks or to stay motivated. This is burnout.

If you’re experiencing the mid-semester blues, don’t let it defeat you! Here are 5 tips to help you make the most out of the remainder of the semester!

Take a Break

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again – it’s okay to take a break. And if you’re feeling guilty for not being more productive while on your break, it’s not a break. It is particularly challenging at the moment being cooped up at home, starting at your laptop all day. If you are one of those unlucky students (like me) who have two lectures on the same day, make sure you use your break times wisely. Eating proper meals, going for a walk (even if it’s just around the block), and finding a nice patch of sunshine to unwind and switch off should be on everyone’s daily to do list.

Use Your Time Wisely

Your time is precious, use it wisely. So you’re taking a mental health day (or afternoon), what are you going to do? While it’s nice having lazy days watching Netflix, why not try completing some tasks you’ve been putting off? Taking little steps to put your life back together can really make a difference to both your physical and mental wellbeing – and it might even spark some motivation that you can redirect to your studies.

I recently decided to take a day off after submitting an assignment that I had spent weeks working on. I watered my plants (which I had been neglecting – oops!), I resumed listening to one of my favourite podcasts, I deep cleaned my bathroom (gross), I called my Nan, and I painted my nails – all really important tasks that I had been putting off. It was one of my most productive days this lockdown! Start ticking things off your list!

Find Your Groove

Routines are a great way to get yourself organised and motivated to study – you just need to find one that actually works for you. Remember that calendar or diary that you used to use? Now is the time to schedule you day to make sure you get everything done and to keep sane during lockdown (what day is it again?)!

Developing habits is critical in Law School – don’t worry you can still develop them in fifth year! I am really good at spending more time planning than actually doing, and biting off more than I can chew. Re-evaluate your daily to do list and set achievable goals, making sure to prioritise. Set time aside to study and get used to working during these times. You could try breaking bigger tasks into smaller ones, reading a set number of pages, or studying for a timed period. There are 24 hours in a day (and you should be sleeping for 8 of them!) make each of them count!

Put Things in Perspective

Think back to your first day of Law School in Legal Process and Statutory Interpretation with Professor Quinlan. Remember that icebreaker? Why did you choose to study Law? It’s important to look at the bigger picture, focusing on what matters most to you. Think of it this way: if you can write this essay, you’re one step closer to completing this course; once you complete this course, you’re one step closer to completing your degree; once you complete your degree, there’s a whole world of possibilities out there for you! Putting smaller tasks that you might be struggling to complete into perspective can give you the motivation that you need to push through the few tough days until a task is due. But keep in mind, you can’t keep pushing through forever – eventually you will need to stop and rest!

Are You Okay? (Really?)

If after trying these strategies you’re still finding things difficult, it might be time to reassess the situation. University is challenging and it’s okay if you feel that Law School is not for you, or that you need to take a break. One of the best things that you can do is talk about how you are feeling with a family member, friend or lecturer. They might help you to see things from another perspective or give you some advice as to how they have overcome similar obstacles. Alternatively, you can always reach out to your GP for support.



About the Author Alicia is studying her fifth year of a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Arts (Applied Psychology). In addition to her position on the NDSLS as Education Director, Alicia has a passion for reading, rules, and roses. #law #studentlife #hobbies #lockdown #uni #UNDA #notredamesyd #ndsls #lawstudent #lawschool #burnout #askforhelp


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