• Olivia Wong

Running out of Battery: How to Battle Burnout

As finals season rapidly approaches, the feeling of burnout has slowly begun to creep into the lives of college students. For first-years and most sophomores, spring 2022 marks the end of a full normal school year due to the ever-present pandemic. The inadvertent shock of the sheer amount of school work has caused students to feel overwhelmed and stressed. Due to the weight of finals affecting their GPAs and consequently their futures, many are unsure if they can persevere until May 12. Although grades and scores may be of utmost priority for college students across the country, mental health cannot and should not be jeopardized for a 4.0 GPA. Here are some ways to prevent that.

1. Look for a New Location.

If you are always studying in your dorm or in a specific room, the same surroundings can either be comforting or cause feelings of boredom. While some may strive by studying in pajamas on top of their beds, students feeling unmotivated or stagnant in their current spaces should search for a plethora of locations to accomplish work. If you thrive off of white noise or crave human interaction, cafés or conference rooms can help your productivity. Sometimes, the outdoors can provide a welcoming of fresh air that can get you right back into the grind.

2. Prepare a Study Schedule…and Stick to It.

Some people produce their best work the night an assignment is due, and procrastination does not hinder their success. However, many of us probably need a few days to prepare for cumulative exams or to finish a good-quality project. If it helps to create a digital or physical list to hold you accountable for your tasks for the week, the feeling of checking off that assignment or closing tabs can be more than enough motivation to stick to your schedule. Matching yours up with a peer’s can also create a comforting support system, since, after all, every student is going through finals season together.

3. Remember Basic Human Needs.

Even if the crushing amount of work from all of our classes makes us feel like we are expected to be superhuman, we, unfortunately, are not. While it is true that design projects may induce all-nighters and that 7+ page papers can cause a missed meal or two, it is imperative that we remember to take care of our bodies, no matter how pressing the work may feel. The key to this is preparation, whether it is filling a water bottle before sitting down to study or stocking up on snacks to stick in your backpack before a long day. Getting the right amount of sleep that is personal to you is also important. An FYS peer mentor once gave advice on sleep: if you are not understanding it by midnight, close your laptop and go to sleep; you will not learn it anyway. In addition, consistent human contact can decrease feelings of isolation and burnout. Seeking counseling and therapy if overwhelming feelings of anxiety arise is always a step in the right direction to maintaining your mental health.

4. Find a New Playlist

With Spotify Premium and other music apps, it is easier now more than ever to listen to music anytime, anywhere. Music taste and preferences are all subjective and should be deeply personal, and some people have no issue with focus while designing models or drawing biology diagrams. However, if we find ourselves wasting time lining up the queue or singing along to the lyrics of a song, it may be a good idea to search for neutral background music. Even if lo-fi and other white noise is not appealing, just switching up your playlist to something new may give you a boost of motivation and change your mood.

Burnout is not a myth, and it can and will persist throughout college and careers. We have seen it in the healthcare system as COVID-19 required long hours and an immense amount of work. This is taxing for the mind and body, and students must learn from their personal experiences with burnout in college before going to the professional world. Although it is expected for college life to be full of high academic stakes and familiar feelings of stress, Jefferson University along with other colleges must prevent burnout so as to not compromise the mental health of their students for high achievement. It is the university’s responsibility to take care of its community, whether it is by continuing to offer free back massages or working with the Campus Activities Board to sponsor events like the Destress Fest. However, it is also up to students to remember to take care of themselves by taking breaks, keeping each other accountable, and staying on track with their workload. With all of this in mind, finals season will finish and summer break will arrive soon enough.

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