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

As exam season is beginning to peak, the awful feeling of burnout might be something many of us are too familiar with. As students and as women, the pressure to excel can feel monumental. We juggle expectations and try to ensure that we not only perform to the best of our ability but also go above and beyond to prove our “capabilities”. Imagine juggling academics, social life, and societal expectations all while facing constant comparisons. That’s the reality for many women in male-dominated fields. It’s no wonder burnout feels like a lurking predator.

The work piles up, the pressure intensifies, and the joy of learning seems to fade. You lose sight of the “why” behind your efforts, replaced by exhaustion and a sense of futility. It feels like a never-ending nightmare that you just can’t follow through till the end. Your “why” becomes just an idea of the past. There is a point where functionality and motivation cease to exist, and we fall victim to burnout. We sometimes get so caught up in what we have to do that we forget why we are doing it in the first place. 

If you are feeling this way, the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness, the feeling that there is literally nothing else you rather do than to give up, know two things: 

1.)  You are not alone 

So so so many people feel like this. In Students’ Burnout at University: The Role of Gender and Worker Status – PMC, a study to investigate the differences in burnout based on students’ gender, it showed that female students often experience higher burnout rates than their male counterparts. The study says that “Specifically, female students showed higher levels of exhaustion, cognitive impairment, and emotional impairment than male students”. You have a passion to do well, to be the best student you can be, know that others feel this way too. Remember, you’re surrounded by a community of women facing similar challenges. This shared experience strengthens you. Don’t let burnout define you; together, you can rise above it. 

2.) Academic Burnout is not forever

Here’s the good news: burnout is temporary, not a life sentence. If you feel yourself slipping into this stage where you are unmotivated, dropping in grades, tired, or just can’t absorb any information anymore, try one or many of the following tips to get that serotonin boost: 

1.)  Be Kind to Yourself

Positive self-talk can allow you to challenge your negative beliefs about yourself. This allows you to have a shift in perspective that empowers you to face difficulties head-on. When you are kind to yourself, it can replace anxious thoughts and stress with calming affirmations. 

2.) Remember to Celebrate the Small Accomplishments

This is a piece of advice that has truly stuck with me as I struggle with burnout. We get so wrapped up with all the things we need to do, that we tend to forget and diminish the things that we have accomplished, no matter how big or small. Recognizing your achievements fuels a sense of progress and accomplishment. This reinforces your belief in your abilities and motivates you to continue striving towards your goals, reigniting your fire!

3.) Make Time for the Things that Make You Happy

We often think that there aren’t enough hours in a day while in burnout. But if we use just a little bit of the time we are stressed to do a hobby we enjoy, whether that be surrounding ourselves with friends, painting, reading, knitting, or anything truly, it reminds us that there is a world around us and not just at our desks. Remember, you’re a whole person, not just a study machine!

4.) Take a Walk 

As silly as it sounds, I’ve found taking a short or long walk in the middle of studying to help. Taking a walk allows you to get some fresh air and also get some exercise in while you are at it. Not only does moving our bodies help us sleep better, but walking in the middle of studying gives you time to relax and clear your mind. It gives you a moment to catch up and refocus. I guarantee you, going outside and feeling some sun on your face after studying inside for hours does wonders. 

5.) Change Your Environment

By removing yourself from the usual study space, you break the mental association with work and stress. It’s more than just a break from the same four walls; it’s a mental refresh button This allows your mind to relax and reset, reducing fatigue and boosting motivation. A new environment can stimulate your senses and ignite creativity. Make sure to check out different study spots in your area like cafes, libraries, academic buildings, or even just rearranging your desk. 

6.) Fuel Your Body! 

“You are what you eat” is a very true statement my friend. You need to fuel your brain and body with food that will deliver nutrients and make you more productive, not slow you down. Fruits, veggies, and whole grains will energize and help your brainpower. Make sure not to skip breakfast as well! This sets the tone of your day and fuels your brain for the morning. 

Remember, burnout is temporary, and you have the power to overcome it. Take care of yourself and be proud of what you are doing! 

Natalie is a Pre-Med Junior Biomedical Engineering Major at Stevens Institute of Technology. Besides school, she enjoys working at the writing center, being a coffee connoisseur, and finding new worlds in books she reads!