Oxford's oldest student newspaper

Independent since 1920

Beating the Blues – is it possible to overcome the 5th week blues?

The 5th week blues are an infamous and universal part of the Oxford experience. They are as renowned as crewdates, formals, and bops – although not quite for the same positive reasons. As a clueless fresher at my first college-family formal, my parents gave me a run-down of everything I needed to know about Oxford, warning me about the 5th week blues looming ahead. I was told to be prepared for the stress, depression and overall gloom awaiting me in 5th week. However, after experiencing the highs and lows of my first Michaelmas term, I felt they were made out to be a whole lot worse than the reality. With that being said, my JCR did organise cookie decorating, hot chocolate walks and even breakfast burritos – which probably helped reduce the miserableness of the week. Despite all of that, I still feel like it is possible to beat the dreaded 5th week blues by yourself.

Now, in the 4th week of Hilary term, they are fast approaching again and while I feel like I overcame the 5th week blues well last term, there is still a nagging feeling that it will be different this time around. Returning to the exhausting schedule of weekly essays and lectures after a relaxing Christmas vac has made Hilary feel more overwhelming – does that mean that 5th week will be even worse this time around? Regardless of the different situation this term, I am determined not to let the 5th week blues take me down.

What we really need to get through 5th week is a solid distraction. Whether this be a hobby which allows you to spend time doing something enjoyable, hanging out with your friends or even getting immersed in a really interesting part of your degree. Any distraction which reminds you of the fun in life can help. Spending time with my friends really helped me push through 5th week last term.  I am a sucker for what my friends call ‘tea-time’ – essentially sitting on the floor of my friend’s room, drinking tea and munching our way through several packets of bourbons and custard creams, all while having a good gossip about our day. This tends to go on for several hours whether we planned it or not. I would recommend adopting some form of ‘tea-time’ with your friends, just to prevent yourself from rotting away miserably on your own in 5th week. Of course, sometimes the best way to keep yourself going is to have a night out, to escape from all the stress and feel revived. I’m a personal fan of Parkend Wednesdays, and being mid-week, it rolls around just as the 5th week blues start to really hit. The DJ’s shout-outs, overcrowded dance floor and well-earned kebab at the end of the night are often the best remedy for lifting your mood. Or, if you’re more of a bridge fan, then no doubt you’ll get some cheering up dancing in the sweaty rooms or chatting away in the smoking area.

A hobby which forces you to just focus on doing what you enjoy can also drag your attention away from the gloom of 5th week. I love getting involved in college netball and no matter how terrible our skills on the court or the turn-out for weekly matches, I always come away feeling better. It could be anything from sports or societies to solo activities like reading, baking or drawing. Whatever it is that drags your attention away from that feeling of never-ending work and exhaustion can help keep spirits high for the final few weeks. This is not to say that the work itself can’t be a source of enjoyment. I personally love the paper I am taking this term and I really look forward to writing my essay each week. But that’s not the case for everyone and even if you love your degree, it is still important to escape from the library to help get through 5th week. Whatever it is that works for you, I really do believe we can beat the 5th week blues. There is a way to have fun and keep spirits high for the last half of term, we just need to make sure we actively seek out the things that keep us going. Find that fun distraction and don’t let the gloom of the mid-way point get to you this term!

Check out our other content

Most Popular Articles