Surviving the Second Semester Blues

March 20, 2024

Understanding Second Semester Blues

The second semester of college is considered to be the toughest. The second semester brings with it feelings of homesickness, stress related to new and more challenging courses, doubt regarding capabilities, and increasing debt. Additionally, students find that they are returning to new and uncertain friendships. Not surprisingly, many second-semester students find themselves suffering from what is commonly referred to as the Second Semester Blues or the Freshman Depression. Both terms are used to describe the feelings of lethargy and depression that lack a single identifiable cause.

Student Depression

The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2014, a survey of more than 150,000 U.S. college students, found that the number of first-year students feeling depressed continues to increase. According to the results of the survey, 9.5% of first-year students reported that they frequently felt depressed over the past year, which was up from 6.1% in 1999.

Symptoms of depression might include:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Issues with coursework
  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Lack of energy or fatigue
  • A sense of being overwhelmed
  • Unrealistic guilt
  • Loss of interest in activities

Students at the highest risk of developing depression include:

  • Female students
  • Low-income students
  • Students of Color
  • First-generation students
  • Student caregivers
  • Students who identify as LGBTQIA+

Coping Strategies for Students

So, what can students do to survive the Second Semester Blues? First and foremost, prioritize self-care and mental health. Schedule downtime, as well as time to socialize with friends. Do not be afraid to seek counseling via on-campus or off-campus resources. Try to find a support group, which can include family, friends, mentors, etc. Talk to a faculty or staff member charged with student welfare. Join a new club or organization. Engage in a healthier lifestyle, as eating well and exercising are known to have positive impacts on mental health. If the issue is grades or more challenging coursework, reach out for academic help. Attend office hours, join a study group, or seek out a learning lab and/or tutoring services. Avoid the temptation to cheat, plagiarize, or commit some other academic integrity offense.  We see a rise in academic integrity and student conduct cases in the Spring.  Regardless of the struggle causing the Second Semester Blues, know that there is help available.

If you or someone you know has been accused of cheating, plagiarism, or another academic integrity offense, please contact our Student & Athlete Defense attorneys Susan Stone at; 216.736.7220, or Kristina Supler at; 216.736.7217.