Feeling Online School Burnout? Me Too.

When COVID-19 caused mass closures in March, people's entire lives were flipped upside down. Not just on the way people worked but also the way students on all levels of education were taught. The pandemic forced almost everybody to retreat into their homes. You could no longer go to parks, see your grandparents or elderly parents, birthdays had to be celebrated over zoom or at a safe distance outside, all appointments were virtual; our normalcy had taken a drastic turn.

Most importantly, students on all levels of education were forced to adapt to a new online format, and in some cases a change in the curriculum. When it comes to discussing how college and university students adapted, some folks had an easier transition than others. Online learning is something most students are familiar with, and with some extra planning, it became like another in person class except for a change in location. On the other hand, this was in March where there were only a few weeks of classes to complete before the end of the semester. It certainly had its advantages, you no longer had to walk or take transit to get to school, no more paying for over-priced food in the cafeteria or using vending machines at 10:00 at night; everything that a common student would complain about now had the luxury of being home.

The online curriculum we have now seemed good at the start, but as the weeks passed it has become more stressful than in-person classes ever would be. Every waking moment focuses on getting schoolwork done and the only true break anyone gets is (hopefully) eight hours of sleep. So, I have created a list of three things you could do to survive the rest of the semester and save yourself from further burnout.

  1. 1. Do not try to get everything done in a short amount of time, instead create a more flexible schedule to get things done.

    As a transfer student, I am used to a big course load, but I think this must be the hardest start of my post-secondary career. The never-ending list of assignments, quizzes, readings, on top of lectures can become extremely stressful to try and finish so much while trying to balance your day-to-day life. In my first couple of weeks of school, I tried to get a week ahead in my courses so I could focus on the big assignments, but I ended up stressing myself out more. So, it is important for you to set small goals or create a flexible list on what you want to get done today, tomorrow, and the next day. 

  2. 2. Find time for yourself every day, even if it is only for 30 minutes.

    Staring at a computer for 12 hours a day is certainly not good for your eyes or your well-being. You need time to distance yourself from school and, from my experience, if you are sitting at your computer for long periods of time, you will start getting bored and become unmotivated to do work which then makes you stop working altogether. This affects the way you absorb the content. To combat this fatigue, I suggest you try the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes take a 20-second break by focusing your eyes on something 20 feet away. This allows your eyes to relax and reset, making you feel more refreshed to get back to work.

  3. 3.   Create a designated workspace in where you are currently living.

    Creating an area that is solely meant for work not only helps you have a designated and uninterrupted space, but it also helps you to focus if you create a similar environment like a library or just a quiet place at school. With a designated spot for schoolwork, you do not have to stress about being in certain areas of your home and take yourself away from school. It is important to keep a separate space for work and one for leisure as this will prevent you from ‘taking work home’.