Scared of Burnout This Fall? Here’s How To Avoid It!

During the past fall semesters,  many students experienced the struggle of fighting to stay awake as they “went to class” by joining a Zoom lecture.

It isn’t a surprise that attending classes in their dorm continuously crossed the lines between schoolwork and leisure time. It could also result in students feeling unattached to assignments that felt like an increasingly unmanageable workload over time.

It is found that many students feel most burn out in the fall, not to mention while taking online lectures.

According to Arielle Brown, a Student Health Center psychologist, there was a noticeable increase in the number of students seen at the Student Health Center for mental health issues.

“We experienced more students experiencing a lack of motivation and also feeling burnt out,” Brown said. “Their work threshold was lower, and this led to some self-criticism.”

The mix of virtual and in-person classes, as well as, the experiences last semester culminated in “normalized burnout,” according to Brown. 

Her clients were experiencing burnout sooner than normal and work stamina had significantly decreased. 

She equates much of the stress coming from students having to once again shift from online learning to in-person classes. 

“It’s almost like we have two freshman classes,” Brown said, referring to younger students who have only known online learning and were thrown into the full college experience later than normal before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Finding and maintaining an outlet is one of the many pieces of advice given by Brown. On top of hobbies outside of school and work, Brown shared the following pieces of advice:

  • Don’t overdo it. Be realistic about what workload you can handle in a semester. Plan so that it’s manageable the entire semester, not just until midterms—after which everything goes downhill for many students. 
  • Have self-compassion. Avoid being overly harsh on yourself. You are, after all, trying to get a degree in the third year of a global pandemic. 
  • Create a system that works for you, not one you think should work for you. 
  • Plan on giving yourself some breaks. Sit down and focus on your breathing, surroundings or how you feel. Try and make sure you constantly feel refreshed.
  • Don’t forget your social side. Sitting next to people in class doesn’t count. Healthy relationships with family and friends are important. 
  • Consider integrating instead of balancing aspects of a schedule. Only being able to “balance” a schedule could be a symptom of a dysfunctional schedule.
  • Get outside and exercise. The UREC has a great facility to accomplish this. Working out is proven to help with feelings of stress.
  • Prioritize personal needs first, then school. Build a personal schedule or calendar that allots personal time for yourself. 
  • Seek help if you feel yourself beginning to burn out. Every student has a different threshold, or breaking point. The Student Health Center offers counseling and therapy appointments for students. The Center of Academic Success also offers resources to students with heavy workloads. 

By Maureen Onyebuchukwu
Maureen Onyebuchukwu