How to Manage Second Term Blues

ICMP's Mental Health Advisor Clare Soutter gives us her advice on the best ways to try and beat the Second Term Blues. 


Whatever level of study, however long the break, it is normal to experience a range of emotions in the transition back to university.

You may be finding the second term more challenging than the first, which could be surprising and worrying.

There could be many different experiences of emotions, such as feelings of lethargy, depression and concerns about whether university is right for you.

This experience is known as 'second term blues' and is common among students.

There could be lots of different factors for this, such as coming back to reality, academic stress, changes in friends, the lack of daylight etc. Here, we'll explore some of the potential reasons and the best ways to deal with them.

Learn Student Space's tips and guidance on dealing with this

Coming back to reality

After a period of relaxation, reduced pressure and living within your own comfort zone, coming back to university can be unsettling. This can be amplified for first years, who could have found the first term scary but also exciting - and this excitement can help power you through.

However, now settling into university, the excitement may dissipate and the challenges of the first term are still there.

The solution

Accepting this as normal can help reduce the impact. Remember that this experience is common for many students. You got through the first term and can do this again.

Engaging in self-care, such as creating good structures for the day, staying active and also planning something fun activities each week can be really beneficial!"

Academic stress

You could be starting to get back some grades and may not have done as well as you had hoped. As a result, you may be worried about future academic assessments or modules.

The solution

If you are concerned about your performance, use the support services available. This includes personal tutors, study skills assistants, specialist mentors etc.

It is also important to remember that academic success does not define you as a person. You can still be a talented musician and become successful in the industry. You've come far already!


While at university, friendships often move around and change. Those who you were close to may drift away, and other people can become more important to you. It could be that you haven't made many friends yet and feel isolated. This is a normal part of university life even though it can feel worrying or upsetting.

What you can do

Keep trying new things and creating opportunities to make new friends. Perhaps you could start a band or offer to produce someone's songs. You could join a society or invite a course mate for coffee. Remember, friendship groups and dynamics can shift. 


Finally, you may be feeling differently from the beginning of the term due to the weather and lack of sunlight. Sunlight and weather can have an impact on our mood and natural light is vital to our physical and mental health. Our bodies have a 'master clock' located in the cells at the back our eyes. When light reaches these cells, it sends messages all around our body to help regulate sleep, mood, hormones etc.

What you can do

Try and get outside for 20-30 minutes a day. Exercising outside can help raise your mood - even a quick brisk walk may improve how you feel."

Finally, one tip to help with the second term blues, is to play music. It can help externalise and express emotions and help distracts you from negative thoughts.

If these feelings are not going away in time, please get in contact with your GP or with us here at Student Wellbeing.

Take the first steps in your music career with ICMP

We've been developing and delivering contemporary music education for over 30 years – longer than any other music school in the UK. With a proven track-record, countless music industry connections and unrivalled access to facilities, it's easy to see why hundreds of students choose ICMP each year. 

To completely immerse yourself in your music career, chat with our friendly Admissions Team via email or give them a call on 020 7328 0222.

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by Clare Soutter
February 5, 2024
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