Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Delhi North chapter.

Exam season is without a doubt the most despised and dreaded time of year for all students. The lingering fear, combined with the anticipation of writing a three-hour paper, cascades to the day we finally sit down to write everything we know (or wish we knew). Although the anticipation is accompanied by anxiety, we frequently adopt unhealthy sleep and eating habits to meet our academic obligations. Such instances of anxiety further lead to poor mental health, impacting the overall functioning of an individual. To deal with the issue, we must turn our attention to the larger question of why we feel the need to make such lifestyle changes.

Our routines or lifestyles can change according to our needs, and often for students, their needs start to become fixated on having a good academic grade, resulting in academic pressure that can lead to certain extreme lifestyle changes; certainly, other factors also play a role, but it is important to keep in mind that performing well in academics takes a significant amount of time, which often takes away time for leisure or co-curricular activities. 

A research study, ‘Balancing Work, School, and Personal Life among Graduate Students: a Positive Psychology Approach,’ found a strong correlation between academic stress, a high incidence of illness, and the problem of saying ‘no’ to engaging in extracurricular activities. As students, it becomes arduous and demanding to accommodate other commitments that require an equal amount of effort. Besides the stress that students face during exam season, the syllabus might become overwhelming for many students, and the time available to understand complicated concepts can appear to be less, which leads to a physically, mentally, and emotionally strenuous load on one individual.

This phenomenon, commonly known as burnout, may also include symptoms of helplessness, detachment, low moods, decreased motivation, and a sense of failure. A systematic review of 2021 on the prevalence of burnout syndrome in university students showed estimates of 55.4% for emotional exhaustion, 31.6% for cynicism, and 30.9% for academic efficacy. Even though such statistics prevail and are continuously on the rise, the issue of burnout under the massive umbrella of a student’s mental health is considered frivolous. 

Recently, with the announcement of the Union Budget 2023, questions were raised on the allocation of funds to mental health; moreover, considering the increasing competition in today’s world, increasing your skill set has been seen as a priority that largely depends upon the varied resources and advantages available to each student. In such conditions, it is evident that burnout is a common phenomenon seen in most students across the globe. 

Delhi University recently admitted its 2025/26 batch, and they have been pushed into a completely different educational system, which has proven to be quite burdensome so far. Having to do seven papers in a single semester amounts to double the load the previous batch had to face. The previous batch itself had gone through rough patches with the pandemic and a major shift to the online mode of teaching, creating new challenges. This is not to say that examinations cannot be dealt with efficiently or that the college experience can never be fun. 

To avoid burnout, we need a more holistic approach to academics that allows students to prioritize their tasks, manage their time according to their most urgent needs, and make time for leisure. A study ‘How Can We Make Students Happier at School? Parental Pressure or Support for Academic Success, Educational Stress and School Happiness of Secondary School Students’ noted the idea that conceptualizing time management skills can help the student meet school and work deadlines. According to the foremost expert on burnout, Christina Maslach, social psychologist and professor emerita of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley has emphasized the factor of the work environment as a contributing factor in burnout, and how an unhealthy work environment can lead to greater burnout which can equally applied to academic institutional settings as well, where students spend a significant amount of time.

Counselling services can also have a significant impact on improving mental health practices and an individual’s overall functioning. We tend to cling to unrealistic expectations, which leads to increased dissatisfaction and, as a result, increased burnout. Therefore, we must remember not to be too hard on ourselves!

Riya Jindal

Delhi North '24

Riya Jindal is a Senior Associate Editor at Her Campus, Delhi North and currently an undergraduate at Indraprastha College for Women. She partakes in editing pieces that cover a wide range of topics, writing and approving pitches. She has actively participated in editorial work and volunteering as the team head and General Secretary of the Women’s Development cell, IPCW and NSS. As an individual she's passionate about music, creative arts, media and film.