If you are feeling more exhausted than usual, oddly irritable, or less inspired to get through your school work, don’t worry. You are not alone. If you have been feeling any of these emotions you may be experiencing academic burnout – and that’s okay. As we reach the second half of the semester, college students are faced with a variety of challenges that can pile on unnecessary stress and anxiety. From a multitude of exams to social conflicts, we are being pulled every which way to satisfy all aspects of our lives. It’s natural for us students to feel overwhelmed during the start of the culmination of this semester, but we must know that feelings of intense burnout will dissipate.
University of the People defines Academic burnout as a series of negative reactions to prolonged studying that can result in exhaustion, lack of motivation, and reduced confidence in one’s academic abilities. Burnout can come from working continuously on one project for an extended period of time or simply be a reaction to prolonged years of schooling. Either way, academic burnout can manifest in several ways including: extreme fatigue, lack of motivation to start assignments, decrease in creativity, headaches, feeling uninterested in leisure activities you usually enjoy, or increase in common bad habits. What is important for us as college students is to recognize when symptoms of academic burnout start to appear and reach out to a support system for help.
If you start to experience these symptoms there are a variety of things you can do to relieve built-up stress and anxiety:
Set aside time for extracurricular activities that you love. Making time for social, athletic, or musical free time is a necessary aspect of college that you cannot forget about. While school might seem so overwhelming that you don’t have time for anything else, it is important to let loose and have fun with friends. Doing so will allow you to feel more motivated and inspired to accomplish your goals.
Getting enough physical exercise. One reason you may feel extremely exhausted could stem from a lack of sunshine and active movement. If you’re not a big fan of going to the gym, join an intramural sport, go on a long walk, try your hand at biking. Regardless of what you do, exercising will keep your body healthy along with your mind.
Develop meaningful relationships with your Professors and classmates. If you do so, you won’t feel as anxious or bored when going to class – reliving some anxiety.
It is important to avoid procrastination. While it might seem like a splendid idea to put off an assignment till later, it’s important to remember that this only ends in more stress.
As this semester has hit its halfway point I have found myself experiencing very preliminary symptoms of academic burnout. As the exams continue to pile up and organizational meetings continuously conflict with one another I have experienced exhaustion and a sinking feeling that I will never be truly on top of all of my assignments. However, as this past week has gone by, I have reached out to important people in my life for support and allowed myself more time for friends. Recently having my first intramural soccer game, I feel much more relaxed and at peace. Even though these past few weeks have been particulate draining both academically and socially, I remembered that I am so lucky to be going to Baylor in the first place and that I should be able to enjoy my time – even on the bad days. Being able to go to class in person during a pandemic, already having my first dose of the vaccine, and my family not being ill are all reasons for joy in my life. I should not let the stress of school negatively bleed into my mental health status and I too am following the guidelines above to stay afloat.
As the semester’s intensity increases, make sure to be aware of both your own mental health and that of others around you. Being a part of someone’s support system can save someone’s life, so make sure to reach out to those you care about. If you wish to find additional help regarding mental health, feel free to look into the resources that the Baylor Counseling Center has to offer: