By Poppy Atkinson-Gibson
5th Week Blues. Another example of peculiar Oxford jargon. What on earth does it mean I here you ask? I too had not heard of this before I came and then as 5th week rapidly approached it's all I heard. At the beginning of Freshers I had been told about 5th Week Blues; that after all the excitement had died down and we’d settled into a routine, the time here would fly by and come halfway through the term you’d begin to flag. I wasn’t really sure what they meant, so I pushed it to the back of my mind and forgot about it. However, come 5th week I was certainly hit by the blues and I realised what all the fuss was about.
5th week blues is a deflated, depressed and tired feeling that creeps up on you in or around 5th week of each term. You're tired; you're halfway through but there's still 4 weeks to go. You miss home and people can sometimes start to get on your nerves! You’ve already done a vast amount of work but more keeps coming and those late nights; Park End or essay crises have taken their toll and all you want to do is curl up into a ball.
But you must not despair!
It's completely normal and almost everyone experiences it. I certainly did. In 4th week I felt awful; grumpy, irritable, miserable and exhausted. And I wasn't the only one! The important thing to do is not to bottle it up, talking about how you feel with friends, family or welfare reps is important and will make you feel better in the long run. It doesn’t have to be too serious, just a cup of tea and a quick chat with some friends about how you’re feeling can really help relieve the burden. Remember nothing is ever more important than your mental health so remember to speak up.
Most colleges put on respite or fun activities in 5th week to try and alleviate some of the exhaustion. St Benet's Hall certainly did, and they were very much welcome. It was a very relaxed evening with films, snacks and games. No alcohol involved. To find out ask your JCR reps or have a look on their Facebook page.
If you are feeling in a rut I would really advise not hiding away, you'll feel worse. You've got to try and battle through. Make yourself a timetable that includes work, as much as you can manage, social activities like going to see a film, a quiet night in or visiting a new coffee shop, and sleep. Don't be too hard on yourself and know that everyone else feels the same so you're not alone.
It's very common in Oxford and if you ask anyone at all they'll know exactly what you mean!