10 Keys to Help You Push through the Mid-Semester Blues

It’s the middle of November. The days are getting grim. The sun no longer shines like it used to. It snowed. Binge eating and drinking coffee are your number-one activities. And it’s finally settling in: Rochester is actually your new home. All the introductory lectures have passed, you’re actually seeing grades on Blackboard and the “hoorah” of Halloween is over. It’s become normal to do hours of work every day. And the list of other dreadful things you already know goes on.

Alas, we shall fight these ‘les bleus’ together, my fellow comrades. There is no need to fear for I have the key.


Je presente le keys to survival:

1. Get some air.
Now I am not going to tell you to breathe and go for a walk. Anybody can do that. What I will tell you is to specifically go for a walk along the Genesee and go stand in the middle of the Eastman Quad to take in some air. (They say the air is purer there.)

2. Sleep!
This is not high school. I REPEAT: THIS IS NOT HIGH SCHOOL. All-nighters don’t work unless you can get at least five hours of sleep. Every lecture, recitation, workshop, and lab is so important that to not have a clear mind in any of them would set you back and start piling up the work. Appreciate the many couches and desks to sleep on in the libraries. I urge you take a nap on the couches in the first floor of Carlson—it’ll brighten your day.

3. Give your phone a break.
The information overload that our generation receives on a daily basis can be overwhelming, especially when reading news headlines. The world is an unfair and cruel place and you’re here at Rochester to change that, but you have to do yourself a favour and give your mind some time to recover from all the negative. Put in some positive vibes. Watch some Netflix, go to a sports game (GO, YOU JACKETS!) or even stare at the ceiling.

4. Map out your goals.
If looking at concrete walls is not your thing, look into your future. A good way to escape the stress of everyday college life is to map out your goals. Whether it be what courses you’ll take next semester or after graduation, spend some time reminding yourself of all the things your hard will allow you to achieve later. Try using the chrome extension for CDCS to get started on course planning.

5. Give yourself a pat on the back.
IT’S NOVEMBER. You’ve made it this far, why not stop and appreciate that fact? Now is the time to look at any good grades you’ve gotten and be like “Yeah, that’s right. I did that.” *gives self a very lonely high five* And if you are not satisfied with what you’ve done so far, remind yourself you have four more years to change that. Remind yourself of why you came to Rochester. Remind yourself of how strong you are. Remind yourself to calm down when times are getting stressful, because yes, cliché time: “You can achieve anything.”

6. Be social.
Hit the Frat Quad. As lame as it can be sometimes, there is some joy to be had in standing on the steps, getting shouted at to get off said steps and shivering in the cold lines while bonding with your friends over the many other possible things you could be doing at that very moment.

7. Make some friends.
You know, if you haven’t already. They’ll keep you sane.

8. Explore the city.
Read the newsletter. Go out in the town, or to the city. Rochester has so many little gems to explore. I highly recommend putting on some calories at Bunga Burger in College Town. I did just last week…twice. And go to the concerts on campus or the events or activities with the new friends you’ve made.

9. Eat some good food.
THANKSGIVING IS ALMOST HERE. In anticipation of all the home-cooked or store-bought food you will be having for Thanksgiving, mix and match your food in the dining hall to get those taste buds all warmed up. Discover a new flavour pattern and relieve some stress by creating a fun meal.

10. Connect with family.
Talk to your mama, your papa, your grandmama, your uncle, your best friend, other family, anybody really. Everyone is just a phone call away. Just because you can text “Hi” doesn’t mean it feels as good as hearing the familiar voice of a loved one. TBH, I call my mom one to two times a day, even for over 30 mins at a time. Her lovely voice asking, “Where’s that 4.0 GPA?” never fails to keep me destressed. *chuckles nervously*


Some quotes found in the University of Rochester Academic Planner (2016–2017) to cap off this lovely and serious attempt to boost my fellow freshmen’s morale:

“Either you run the day, or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn

“Every moment is a fresh beginning.” – T.S. Eliot

“Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail.” – Charles Kettering

About the author

Bianca Hall

Hello, My name is Bianca, Class of 2020. I am an international student from none other than Kingston, Jamaica! I am a Biology major (Pre-med) with minors in Audio Music Engineering & Music. Simply put I am always trying to find new ways and perspectives to think about our daily lives and build on the knowledge that I am constantly acquiring from my friends, family and the U of R.

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