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The Truth About Burnout and Stress in College Students

If I’m being completely honest, the past few weeks have definitely been extremely difficult for me. It’s the middle of the fall semester, and it feels as if I have the weight of the world on my shoulders. We had a fall break the week before, but I feel as if I couldn’t even fully enjoy that. I still had assignments to work on, and my mental health was just awful. There were times that I felt as if I couldn’t even leave my bed, and all I could do was just sit in silence with myself. It was awful. I was hardly in communication with my friends because typing on my phone required too much energy. I wanted to spend time with my family, but even that was difficult. The mix of seasonal depression and burnout really did catch up to me. (Mercury being in retrograde didn’t help either). I was completely and utterly drained. In addition to how out of it I felt, I just felt guilty. I felt like I was disappointing the people around me, and most of all: myself. Throughout fall break, I just felt like a failure for struggling. My grades are good, but I constantly sacrifice sleep and my mental health to excel. I want to do things in college to benefit my post-collegiate career; however, there’s times I get so anxious to put myself out there. My mind eats away at my drive, and it makes me feel like I don’t deserve to succeed. That’s the imposter syndrome for you, ha. The entire week was just me suffering, and my break went by fast. I couldn’t even enjoy the days off from class; before I knew it, I was leaving home and on my way back to campus. 

When I got back to school, I was happy to see my roommates and friends. I missed them a lot during the week, and having their presence around me was much more healing and beneficial than I thought. My classes were okay. The workload is still a lot, but I think I’m getting better at managing my time and my professors have been making deadlines work better with our schedules. As this week went on, I started to gradually feel a little better. I started a diary, and I write my thoughts down in there and also just keep track of my days. I make sure to laugh each day. I use my planner to organize my time and assignments to make sure I’m not overwhelmed. I also try to put myself out there and interact with more people. On Thursday, the college had its “Puppy Power Hour” where they bring therapy dogs and the students can just come and pet them and also mingle with people. I went, and it was honestly so healing. It was so nice being around all the dogs, and it really did make the rest of my week better. Overall, I just want to say that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I know a lot of fellow students are probably burnt out and dealing with a lot of things on their own, but it’s okay to share your struggles. Whether it’s with your friends, your diary, or a whole blog post for the whole internet to see, it’s okay. You’re okay. I’m okay. We’re okay.

In addition to sharing struggles, it is extremely important to make self care a priority. I know it’s extremely difficult, especially as a college student, but forgetting to take care of yourself definitely catches up to you eventually. Adding self care to your daily routine can make the feeling of being overwhelmed much less intense. For example, as redundant as it sounds, getting enough sleep is really crucial to stabilize your moods. I have noticed that I often do feel much better on the days on which I’ve slept enough. Also, staying hydrated and eating is a must. Having enough energy definitely helps with the feeling of burnout. I also make sure to listen to my favorite music while I’m doing any tasks as it makes things a bit more enjoyable. Another thing that has helped me is watching an episode of a show before I sleep. No matter how much homework I have, I still deserve to have that time to unwind before I go to bed. Exercising helps too. Working out is so much effort, but I do find myself feeling a lot better afterwards. These are just some of the things that work for me; however, we all have different versions of self care, just as long as you’re doing something that can make you feel a little better during these difficult times.

Remember that it’s important to put yourself first. Yes, school is important, but we really are only in college for four years. Your mental health lasts a lifetime. It’s important to take care of it and make your wellbeing a priority.

Taylor Johnson

Agnes Scott '24

Hello! My name is Taylor. I am a sophomore at Agnes Scott College. I plan on majoring in English Creative Writing and minoring in Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies. In my free time, I love to read and write. I also enjoy meditating and I'm currently learning how to do oracle and tarot card readings. If you ever see me around, I'm probably taking a walk and filming my day.
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