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Why making a mood board could be the solution to your midterm slump

ByRuby Walsh

Nov 8, 2016

Every year we students come into a new year at university bright-eyed with high hopes of an organised and stable year, only to find those dreams dashed a few weeks in.

Attending lectures by day and social gatherings by night, you may find by mid-term that your brain needs a break. For those of us who feel our intellectual and emotional stability both begin to dwindle as our lives spiral into disorganised realms, there may be a simple solution: mood boards. A mood board is essentially a collection of materials, such as images, objects, and text that often follow a theme. Though this may sound like a mess of mediums, the boards are actually organising tools often used by professionals to visually represent ideas. Interior decorators use them when creating a decorative style for their clients, directors create them when crafting the aesthetic for their films, and advertisers use them as visual aids for pitches. Now, thanks to websites such as Pinterest, the tool has become a trend, and people are making the boards for themselves. At home, mood boards can be used in many ways, from helping you to clarify muddled ideas to displaying images to motivate you. Here are a few ways that you can use mood boards.

Mood boards are the perfect tools for visual learners, as they can help make otherwise abstract ideas concrete. For example, a history student creating a project on the American Civil War may not know where to begin when looking over the dense textbooks. Making a board with photos of the battles, portraits of the soldiers, and excerpts from Abraham Lincoln’s ‘Gettysburg Address’ may help the student clarify a focus for his project. For a biology student creating a presentation, a mood board might help them select a cohesive style and images to supplement the information. For any subject, when planning a presentation or project, creating a mood board will help you visualise the ideas bouncing around in your head.

The boards are not only helpful in guiding your studies; creating one may help you to achieve a desired emotional state. For example, if you are feeling overwhelmed by work or personal troubles, creating a mood board full of tranquil images could calm the frenzy in your mind. If you feel most at peace at the beach, for example, creating a board with a pale blue colour scheme and images of seashells and water will make the ‘happy place’ in your mind more concrete. Mood boards are also often used to stimulate motivation, and creating one may help you to achieve your aspirations if you are feeling stuck in a midterm slump.

Think about the goals you want to accomplish by the end of the semester and then create a corresponding board. Put up photos of the activities on your bucket list, quotes that help motivate you, and a map with circled locations that you intend to visit. However, your mood board does not need to follow a specific theme. Putting togetther a collection of items that you love will help brighten your environment. Treat the board in the same way you would decorating your room, putting photos of friends, your favourite paintings, and images that inspire you.

You can constantly build on and reshape the mood board as the term progresses, adding tickets from a concert or a letter from a friend. Glancing at the board every day may instil that little bit of positivity necessary to improve your mood.

There does not have to be a strict structure in your use of your mood board; you’re not putting it up in a meeting, after all. The board can be a place for you to explore ideas, or simply a space to gather an eclectic assortment of the things you love. Make it your own.

Whether you dedicate it to one particular topic or all the things you love, it is so rewarding to see your own creation covered with your most favourite things. You might find that making a mood board might just be the key to help get you back on track if you are feeling burnt out, and if not, then it is still a fun activity that results in an attractive decoration.

By Ruby Walsh

Writer and ex-TV and Radio Editor

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