Pushing Through Burnout

As any college student knows, the week preceding Thanksgiving break and the weeks preceding winter break are some of the longest and most difficult days to get through. The day before leaving campus for Thanksgiving break I probably spent a good hour just staring at my computer while trying to do work, seemingly unable to muster the attention and ambition necessary to complete my final projects. It took me a solid fifteen or twenty minutes, too, to actually sit down and get started on this article. 


Knowing that my cozy bed and dogs are waiting for me back home in New Hampshire, motivation to complete this semester has been lacking. However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my twenty years on this planet, it’s that waiting for motivation to arrive does no good. If you’ve already been laying in your room for an hour not doing anything, then chances are you’re not going to be any more motivated in another hour to be productive. At some point you just have to accept this, force yourself up, and write that paper. It definitely won’t be fun, but you’ll feel ten times better when you’re done and have one less thing to worry about.


As much as I want to lie in bed and binge a Netflix miniseries right now, too, I have to keep reminding myself that this is doing more harm than it is good. If I can’t get myself together enough to spend a half hour writing an article for HerCampus, then how am I going to get through these next two years and build a life for myself? Yes, regular breaks- whether they be a few minutes, hours, or days- are crucial to both our mental and physical health; however, this isn’t all there is to self care. Another important part of self care is staying on top of the things that you have to do. I’ve found that this is one of the best ways to curb my academic anxiety, as I always feel less anxious and depressed when I regularly have some semblance of organization and productivity. 


Even more so, finding the energy to be productive often requires stepping back for a moment and observing the bigger picture. At the end of the day, we are all here because we are studying what we love to do what we love (or at least I hope we are). No matter how tedious or time-consuming my assignments feel, the fact-of-the-matter is that I absolutely love what I am studying and know that it will pay off in the future. In the long run, I’m taking these classes for a reason: to become a better reader, writer, speaker, and thinker. I try to embrace this as much as I can in the last few weeks, looking for the best in my final class sessions and projects.


As challenging as these next two weeks are going to be on my patience and work ethic, I try to remind myself of these things from time-to-time to bring some level of motivation back. As you’re wrapping up your last papers and cramming for your final exams, just remember that you’ve stayed strong enough to make it to college and that you’re here for a reason: to pursue the life and field you’re most passionate about.