Cover Story

New Semester Blues


At the start of the new semester every year, many students are bound to have expectations, excitement, anxiety, and anxiety about their new school life. Most college students feel a burden throughout their school life along with the opening of the semester. To sum up these symptoms in one word, it's called "college student new semester blues.” The Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea defined the new semester blues as a maladaptive pattern in the new environment and a symptom of not having a harmonious relationship with the new environment. As the new semester begins every year, it means that students feel burdened with school life and are not adapting well. Most of these symptoms appear in elementary school students, but they are symptoms that can occur in both middle and high school and college students.


According to a survey of 2,623 college students conducted by Job Korea, a Korean employment platform, in 2021, 79.8% of the participating college students said they were burdened with the start of the new semester and were suffering from the new semester blues. As a result of asking college students about their feelings for the new semester, 42.8% said "the burden is greater than expected" and 18.2% said "the expectation is greater," about 2.4 times the response. In the case of first-year college freshmen, 82.9% of the respondents were burdened with the highest statistics. Next, 78.1% of second graders, 77.4% of third graders, and 72.8% of fourth graders were similar. There was a reason why all grades felt the same pressure ahead of the opening of the new semester, but the reason why the ratio was the highest was different for each grade. The common reasons for all grades were academic burdens such as grades and assignments, and future burdens such as employment and vision. In the case of first-year freshmen, 29.7% felt economic pressure such as tuition and living expenses, followed by 15.9% adaptation to middle and high schools and other new teaching methods, and 14.0% felt the burden of interpersonal relationships. In the case of second-year students, the burden of academic schedules such as assignments and exams was the highest at 26.4%. The burden of credit management in the third grade was 30.4%, and the burden of employment specifications such as TOEIC, certificates, contests, and external activities was 30.4% in the fourth grade.


According to a survey by the Korean Council for University Education, the most representative symptom of college students' new semester blues was nervousness with 50.3%. Following this, 40.7% of people fled from reality and 27.6% of them were lethargic and depressed. In addition, it is accompanied by various symptoms such as indigestion, loss of appetite, excessive desire for sleep, and insomnia. Most of the responses to blues symptoms were more than 20%, indicating that the symptoms were serious in college students. In addition to the symptoms shown in the survey, each person may have different symptoms, so if you are struggling or suffering mentally, you need to suspect the new semester syndrome.


New semester blues for college students can be treated naturally when they adapt to new environments and school life. It also explains that the best way is to overcome the situation you are in on your own. It is also a good idea to meet colleagues or seniors who have experienced the blues in the new semester and share their experiences with each other to find solutions. A student who had a new semester blues said, "I had a new semester blues, but as time passed and I talked to people, I became more interested in college life as the tension eased." He also said, "If students who suffer from the new semester blues create a hobby that they can do alone, it will be a means to get stressed from human relationships," and gave tips on how to solve the new semester's blues. In addition, the Korean Council for University Education said that if you have difficulties, you can prevent new semester blues by asking for help from your acquaintances, doing various activities outdoors, and creating regular lifestyle habits. These symptoms also have a significant impact on the issue of reclusive youth, and he mentioned that it is good to get help at a psychological counseling center or a place where psychological help can be obtained. It is said that experiencing these symptoms alone and ignoring them can cause further psychological problems later on. If college students' new semester blues is serious, it may be effective to get professional help and treatment. In fact, university online communities and social media often post messages expressing concerns about not being able to adapt to school due to skepticism, personality, and employment stress about college life. As complex factors are combined, they develop into depression and helplessness, which can lead to interpersonal avoidance or refusal to go to school, and the problem of young people who are secluded in college. A student who experienced depression and helplessness said, "There are no elements to have fun in school life, I always feel like I'm living with worries such as employment and tuition, and I don't know why I came to college.

" In response, the Student Life Counseling Center advised, "If you tend to be ashamed of psychological anxiety and depression, and you are judged to be in poor mental state, it is better to receive professional help and treatment related to mental health." In addition, "Really dangerous students do not visit counseling centers. It should not be taken easily, and continuous attention and support are needed from the people around him, he added.

For someone, the start of a new semester can be exciting or scary. Not only you but also many college students will be afraid of the start of a new semester. But adapting to a new environment, meeting new people, and having new experiences will bring more advantages than doing nothing for fear of a new start. When you need help due to school life, such as credits and assignments, it is recommended not to worry alone, but to get help from acquaintances and experts around you. Not all college students can spend every semester happily, but the school should also pay attention and find better ways to reduce the number of students suffering around them. Since the symptoms of the new semester blues in people and how to overcome it are all different, it is recommended to ask for help if you have a hard time or need help during school life. It is also recommended to approach and help people around you if they have difficulty adjusting to school life or seem mentally difficult. I hope college students will overcome the new semester blues through positive minds and plans for a pleasant life.