College Students Experience "Burnout" Too

Stress is inevitable, especially when you’re completing the same list of tasks, going to the same job, doing the same things, every single day. We hear the term “burnout” when we are referencing health care professionals, adults who are close to retirement, those who having grueling jobs that require them to work seven days a week. But we don’t hear the term when talking about college students. College burnout is real.

 

This morning as I was making my daily morning commute to campus, I clicked on a podcast episode by one of my favorite Christian authors, Annie F. Downs. She records a podcast episode weekly and posts it to iTunes. Ironically, I’ve read two of her books, but I’ve never taken the time to listen to any of her podcast episodes despite it being on my to-do list for what seems like forever.

 

What’s even more ironic is that the first episode I clicked on was about feeling “burned out” on something. Downs brought long-time pastor, Carey Nieuwhof onto her show to discuss this specific topic and even more specifically how he went through a burnout period a little over ten years ago when it came to his pastoral duties.

 

As he was describing his symptoms of his burnout, it suddenly came to me, I had been experiencing those exact same feelings as well.

 

However, Niewhof was lucky. He could afford to just take a step back, take a vacation and take crucial time for himself to re-center his thoughts and rekindle the love for his profession. Us college students are not privileged in those ways. We HAVE to go to class, we HAVE to complete those assignments, we HAVE to be involved on campus if we want to succeed in life after graduation. It’s not an option, truthfully. (Unless you just 100 percent give up and want to drop out, then you don’t have to any of those things.)

 

I’m now on my fifth year of college. The University of Kentucky is my third college that I’ve been enrolled in. I haven’t had the luxury of not having to work part-time during these last five years of undergrad. In fact, last year I was working three part-time jobs, running an on-campus organization, volunteering at my church on Sunday mornings and still trying to manage taking five classes. (Disclaimer: I survived. I also learned to never fill my plate that much ever again.) Last year had the words “burnout” theoretically written all over it.

 

Sure, college kids get breaks every now and then. Spring break, winter break, summer break (sometimes—unless you opt to take FOUR SUMMER CLASSES AT ONCE… like me. I don't recommend.) But honestly, that's not enough time and it doesn’t dismiss the fact that we are humans too, who have a job to complete just like any other “grown adult”—that job is school.

 

Being a college student is hard, it’s tedious, it’s time consuming, it’s stressful, it’s emotionally draining—all of which equal burnout, a feeling that isn’t good for anyone to feel.

 

To my college student friends,

You’re not crazy, you’re not being irrational, you’re not panicking for no reason, you’re not becoming “cold-hearted,” you’re just becoming burned out on college and that’s okay to admit. Don’t let anyone convince you that, “you’re too young to be feeling burned out on something.” Chances are the individual that’s telling you that probably didn’t take their college years as seriously as you do.

 

Keep pushing.