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Anna Schultz-Girl On Computer Stress
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Wellness > Mental Health

The Overwhelming Stress of Academic Burnout

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at ASU chapter.

Never in my 15 years of being in school have I ever felt this type of academic burnout. Maybe it’s because I know I am so close to graduating next year. Or maybe it’s because the holiday season is approaching and I am just ready to go home. 

According to the University of the People article, academic burnout can be described as “a negative emotional, physical and mental reaction to prolonged study that results in exhaustion, frustration, lack of motivation and reduced ability in school.” A lot of students deal with academic burnout when they start to disconnect from what they are doing, thus losing interest in their field of study. 

Ever since I was in elementary school, I have been in the classes that were intended for the academic level above me, and I spent all of my high school years taking only AP and honor classes. I think that all of that is finally catching up to me now. It’s not like I’m not enjoying my classes or my major, but the pressure of graduation approaching in two semesters, the thought of entering the real world soon, and not being prepared have really struck me hard this fall. 

This is something that my friends and I have talked about a lot and it is something we’ve been struggling with this semester. It feels like the days are on a loop, and we’re doing the same things over and over again. When we finish one batch of assignments and think we’re done for a few days, we turn our heads and see a whole other load of work that needs to be done. It has been difficult trying to balance school, work, internships, a social life, and dedicating time to school clubs, all while putting time aside for family and friends. 

It feels like I can’t do all these things at once and I have to choose one over the other, which I know isn’t the case. It makes me think how after college, it’s only going to get more difficult and that’s when my choices are really going to matter. 

Slowly, I’ve been trying to get better at time management. It was going well until I got a notification about a project that was due after Thanksgiving break, and it sent me down a spiral of being overwhelmed and burnt out all over again. 

I know this isn’t a permanent feeling; it’s just something that I am going through temporarily, but as someone who genuinely liked school at one point, it just feels a bit disappointing. However, I know that there is always next semester to improve and get out of this temporary funk – plus the holidays are coming up, and I can go home to my family and friends. 

If you are struggling with these same feelings of academic burnout here is a list of tips that can help you: 

  1. Make time for things that make you happy

Don’t just wait for things to do on the weekend, do things throughout the week too, even if it’s watching your favorite movie/show. Do something that gets your mind off a school and makes you happy. Hang out with your friends and family, etc. 

  1. Go out and exercise 

Exercising is not only good for your body, but it is good for your mind too. It helps reduce stress and allows you to clear your mind to think and focus. 

  1. Go outside 

Fresh air and some grass always make me feel better and help me stay more grounded. I like to take this time outside to journal and do something creative (like painting or drawing) where I can just relax and not think about something else for a bit. 

  1. Get organized 

Clean your room and organize your space. This can generally help increase focus. Organize your assignments in a way that makes them more digestible and doesn’t overwhelm you (use apps like Notion or Evernote to do this, there are a lot of different functions that they offer that can cater to what you need and you make it to match your aesthetic). 

  1. Change your study environment 

If you always study or do your work in a specific place (like your room), change it up and try a new setting. Go to the library, make it a thing to try all the cafes in your area, or go to different areas on your campus. Sometimes a change of scenery and vibe is all we need to get back into the groove of things. 

Just remember that you’re probably not the only person feeling like this, talk to your friends (I’m sure they’re feeling the same). Remember, this is all just a temporary speed bump in the road. We will all get through this, and the satisfaction of walking across the stage will be worth it!

Ariauni is a student journalist from California, now living in Phoenix, Arizona. She majors in journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication with a concentration in PR at Arizona State University. She enjoys all things music, entertainment, and pop culture.