Staying motivated after midterms


Students can participate in yoga, meditation, and physical exercise to help combat stress and anxiety that comes with the pressure of keeping up with school.

Once midterms are over and the weather becomes cooler, students begin to lose focus and motivation.

“Feeling burned out and overwhelmed is a very common issue for students, especially around this time,” Dr. David Schwartz, director for OU’s Counseling Center, said.  

In order to stay focused for the remainder of the semester, Schwartz suggested students try relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, getting enough sleep or practicing mindfulness, which is simply paying attention to the present moment.  

“Students should be vigilant about self-care, and what I mean by self-care is doing things that relax you such as exercising, meditating or watching a movie,” he said.

Schwartz added that students might not have time to go to the gym to exercise, but can easily take a 15-minute walk or do some different exercises inside. 

 “When I was in school, I wish I knew what I know now,” he said. He added that students should have a good balance between their social life, family, work and school.

Every college student needs a support system at certain points on their journey, so the goal of the Student Success Service is to be a one-stop shop.  

“A first-year student may need help mapping out their study time or learning about different resources on campus, while an upperclassmen may need guidance on how to get through a higher level course,” Michele Applebee, student success coordinator, said. 

“At this point in the semester, students are likely to know other students who either have the same major or are in the same class, so students should create a study group and encourage each other to finish strong,” she said.

Applebee helps students with time management, transitional concerns, procrastination, stress and test-taking anxiety. 

“I coordinate all academic support for OU residents and I also coordinate the Academic Peer Mentor (APM) program,” she said.

APMs offer educational programs and tutoring onsite, with tutor nights in Hamlin Hall and Oak View Hall every night available for all students. 

“Motivational strategies can vary based on the individual, but my suggestion would be to write out your ultimate goal, then work backwards to get where you currently are, identifying smaller goals you can achieve along the way,” Applebee said.

One way Applebee stayed motivated was by making a to-do list.

“I have a large list that I review each day, and crossing items off is very satisfying and also encourages me to keep going,” she said.

Applebee added that there are two reasons that students lose motivation after midterms. The first is being overwhelmed, which leads to procrastination, and the second is the opposite – a student could do really well on an exam or assignment and think the class is less challenging, so they might study less frequently. 

The Student Success Service in Hamlin Hall and the Counseling Center in Graham Health Center are two areas on campus that are willing to help students through the second half stretch.

For more information on the different types of academic support offered by the Student Success Service, visit and click “Academic Support.”