According to WHO, burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance from one’s job or in our case, school, and or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job.
Of course, burn-out is not exclusive to the workplace, college students especially struggle with burn-out which I why I thought this post was long overdue.
For starters, you will definitely get burned out at some point during your undergrad. That much I can almost guarantee. It happens to everyone. Even if you really try, you will definitely be burned out at some point and that’s okay.
In my experience with being a college student, I can say that being burned out before the midterms and before the end-terms is more than fair, those are the two busiest times during a semester and so I can understand running on fumes because everyone else is too.
However, being burned out all the time is what I don’t understand. That is what I consider to be unhealthy. That is what I consider to be unsustainable. At the end of the day, you simply have to pace yourself.
I mean I’m an otaku. If you asked me what I want to do after my adulting duties it will always be to watch some anime.
But that is not sustainable because if I have to work for the standard eight hours, commute and do all other adulting things, by the time I get home, shower, freshen up, have dinner, the next only thing I can do is crawl my tired body into bed.
At the end of the day we all have something that we want to give all our time outside of school and or work but at the end of the day, it is important to understand what takes precedent over how little sleep you can get. If you are burned out all the time then I know that school is what will suffer. Why?
Because school needs fresh brainpower every day. Unlike your work which you eventually get accustomed to, with school, you get to absorb new information daily and that takes a toll on the mind and body.
You don’t have to be burned out. There are no trophies handed out for stretching yourself too thin. The best thing to do is to find balance. You need to write down a list of everything you must do daily. That means your classes and work if you have work, commute time, and anything else that is mandatory for you to do.
Write that down then add in group meetings for group work and assignments and studying, then look at how much time you have left outside of that. That is time you have to divide between at least seven hours of sleep and any hobbies you might have.
If you are having trouble managing your time that is also okay. That is why school counselors exist. Set up an appointment and tell them what the problem is and let them help you. They might also help you stay accountable if you ask them; just for a little while until you get used to your new schedule.
The point of this post was to tell you that it is okay to be burned out toward your midterms and towards your end terms. It is okay and normal.
You don’t have to kick yourself about it. Burn-out simply means that you are stretching yourself too thin and that means you need to prioritize and give your time only to things that matter the most.
If you are a working student then most likely you really don’t have time for much else. Do what you need to do then take care of your health by getting sufficient sleep. And if you need help getting organized then ask for help. It is that simple.
I hope this helps. Stay safe.