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How I’m Trying to Survive College Burnout

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 U Mass Amherst chapter.

Let me just preface this by saying I don’t have all the answers. In fact, I was super excited to write this article because it is something so pressing to me right now, however, I started much later than I would’ve liked to. I cannot express how strung out me and the people around me are. As I look around the UMass Integrative Learning Center, I see heads hanging low and near the point of nodding off. I had to offer my friend under-eye rejuvenating cream the other day because the bags under his eyes were so prominent. Midterms have finally come to a close and workloads are easing up, but I still see the effects they had on students. In fact, a campus media outlet I work for has been reporting on stress for a broadcast segment, and you wouldn’t believe the amount of negative answers students have reported about their mental state.

The last few weeks have been some of the craziest of my life. Aside from having a crazy non-stop cough (don’t worry, it’s nothing too serious), I have rushed a sorority, taken on multiple campus media journalism endeavors, and kept up with the massive workload that has been thrown my way. 

There are a few key ways that I learned to survive. First of all, keeping a clean room is more important than you could ever imagine. Whether I’ve made my bed and cleaned my area or not determines how productive of a day I have. It makes me feel so much more refreshed. The other thing to keep in mind is you must keep up with the things that make you feel good. For example, I’m the type of girl who really likes to blow-dry and straighten her hair because it makes me feel confident, and I know I won’t have to figure out a way to style my frizzy hair in the morning. Don’t lose these little things that make you feel at peace. Guilty pleasures are crucial to a person’s well being, too. By rewarding yourself with little things at certain times, you reduce the amount you will procrastinate because you want to work your way up to these luxuries. If I bang out a lot of work I might treat myself to a night of watching Shameless while lighting a candle and eating some chocolate. These moments make me feel like I have some semblance of control over my life. If you are having trouble with timing, I suggest taking out your Notes app and writing down a schedule of your day. 

Sometimes when you are stressed out it can be really hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Everything can become blurred and day-to-day life may feel very mundane or routine. My friend suggested this tip to combat these feelings the other day. She said rather than keep looking towards that light at the end of the tunnel, instead take down something good that happened to you on any day or something that made you happy. For instance, if you said hi to someone and they complimented your shirt, you could write that down because it made you feel good. Alternatively, if you said hi to someone and their eyes lit up upon seeing you, you could jot that because it made you happy and warm inside. Internalize these moments of glee and you will feel so much better by the end of each day.

Burnout is real. Your feelings are valid. Trust me when I say everyone is going through this. Maybe not every person to the same extent, but it still hangs and looms over us. Talk to someone. Whether that be a therapist, a group of friends, or a family member, just choose someone who will actually listen to what you have to say. It’s never fun pouring your heart out to someone who’s not actively paying attention. Needing support is nothing to feel shameful about. Anyone can work through this, I promise. I, just like so many others, believe in everyone. 

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Kate Katz

U Mass Amherst '24

Kate is a senior at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a New Yorker at heart. She is a double major in Journalism and Communication and hopes to work in the broadcast field. Kate also writes for several other UMass publications. She is so grateful to be able to share her work with such a wide audience of readers.