The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Newby: Rising above the mid-semester slump

John Theulen
The Campus Recreation and Wellness Center is shown on Sunday, March 22, 2015. The CRWC will be closed from Monday to Sunday due to the men’s NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. (The Daily Iowan; John Theulen)

When spring arrives with warmer weather and longer days, it brings with it the threat of the mid-semester slump.

Taylor Newby

[email protected]

The new year brought with it new promise paved by way of fresh, unwrapped resolutions. Whispers of encouragement echoed across the country as countless men and women exhausted their lists and named each vow they were going to make, and then keep, for a better year driven by the best kind of beginning — one that is hopeful.

But as week melted into week, titles of books to be read were forgotten, dust gathering on glossy covers. Gym memberships grew stale. And the fresh vegetables crowding the fridge have since wilted and spoiled. Sleeping schedules once set to center our self-care are no more than a skeleton now.

And so many of the things we promised ourselves just months ago have now been overcome by the mid-semester slump. In fact, this is more widespread than we think. According to US News, 80 percent of people drop their New Year’s resolutions by the second week of February.

The mid-semester slump arrives just as the seasons threaten change. The days are longer, the air is warmer, and exams arrive with 10-page papers strapped to each side — just as we begin daydreaming of summer. We return from spring break convinced of a jump-start toward our studies, confident in our abilities to conclude the school year, only to be met with our own sluggish attitudes and deep desire for a quick wrap up.

But at this time — where months are fading into one another faster than we could have ever anticipated, and thousands of students are soon to head in thousands of different directions, there is subtle opportunity to fiercely grip these last several weeks and run with.

There is room to do something with our remaining time on this campus — to grab at the plans we made months ago only to set down and grow them into something greater than they were before.

Psychology Today calls the reluctance to step outside of our comfort zones by its name — challenge. And each area of discomfort presents a new challenge — one of the first ones being the “Inauthenticity Challenge.” Explaining how when we suddenly grab at a new habit or hope for a new outcome in pursuit of a new experience, it can feel deeply inauthentic.

And there are few things that are more uncomfortable than doing something new and exciting, only for it to wind up feeling fake or false.

Along with feeling inauthentic, it’s easy to feel incompetent when pursuing a new skill — and then, like an imposter. Psychology Today names this the “Competence Challenge.” And this fear of feeling like a fraud transcends into the fear of being seen, really seen, in a new light.

Stepping out of a comfort zone is the furthest thing from feeling safe, and it’s easy to worry what people will think of us when we try on a new hat.

When we begin to dwell on what the opinions of others might look or sound like, it’s easy to quiet our own voice — the one telling us of our desires, passions, and dreams, of our failed new year’s resolutions.

It’s far too easy to give up when we’ve given into what we others might think, and that’s where the “Likeability Challenge” comes into play — when we have to make a decision on whether we like our voice enough to silence the opinions of others.

It’s easy to dream, but it’s difficult to pursue a new passion. With only a few months left in the 2017-18 school year, we — as students — have an opportunity to ring out the last monumental moments this school year has to offer.

Conquer the mid-semester slump, and do something that will make you a little more brave and a little more you.

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