Dealing with Burnout

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November 9, 2022 by

 

College is no joke.  

My whole life, I waited eagerly for my turn to go to college. Being the youngest of five sisters, I never thought it would be me packing up my room and saying goodbye to childhood friends in order to make the transition into college. But that day came sooner than I could have ever anticipated.  

All of the advice I was given regarding college didn’t prepare me for the hardships that it would bring. Yes, college is fun. And exciting. And thrilling.  

But it is also difficult. And tiring. And draining.  

As this semester is already halfway over, I cannot help but feel the anxiety start to creep in. I would be lying if I said that looking at my calendar for these next two months didn’t make me sick. Already, I feel overwhelmed by the weight of all of the papers I have to finish, projects I need to start, and exams I should be studying for. 

But I know it’s going to be OK. This season of exhaustion will end. The burnout won’t last forever.  

I wish I could write that college is a breeze and you have nothing to worry about, but I can’t. College is not easy. But it is so worth it. I can promise that. It is important though, before coming into college, to understand what is coming and the reality of it. Don’t be afraid of adversity. In all honesty, there is going to be at least one time in college where the overwhelming demands and the stress paired with fatigue will begin to wear you down. But it’s going to be OK. Hopefully, just a snippet of advice given in this blog can give you insight on how to succeed in college, even when the burnout feels too heavy.  

 

What Is College Burnout?  

Before diving into practical ways to deal with burnout, let’s take a moment to familiarize ourselves with everything that burnout entails. To put it simply, college burnout refers to a season of extreme fatigue and apathy, which causes a student’s academic performance to decline. Burnout can be brought on by a multitude of factors, but many of them include demanding workloads and prolonged feelings of stress. These feelings of exhaustion and stress can impact our mood and feelings regarding school, friendships, and, for Cedarville students, even chapel.  

Don’t lose hope. College burnout is not the end all, be all. Ultimately, it is important to understand how to deal with burnout so that you can be successful in your four years of college.  

 

Reach Out to Those Around You 

There is one thing that I know is for certain at Cedarville University: Everybody truly cares about you and wants you to succeed. Cedarville is nothing similar to how Hollywood makes college out to be; the professors here are encouraging and approachable. Every professor I have met has never hesitated to help me when the stress seemed too great and I felt like I couldn’t do it. When you lose motivation, reach out to your professors. They want to help you grow as a person and be successful in obtaining your degree. They understand that college is difficult and want to help in any way that they can. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. Reach out. Draw others close. 

Not only that, but I also encourage you to reach out to your friends and classmates. Deep friendships and connections are created by drawing classmates together who are going through similar situations. Some of my favorite memories involve destressing with my friends as we figured out how to deal with burnout together. These moments will draw you closer and deepen your friendships. 

 

Don’t Be Afraid to Take a Break  

Maybe it’s just me, but when I feel burnt out, I am stuck feeling unmotivated where I would rather do anything but schoolwork, while also feeling guilty and as if I have failed if I am not constantly working on school. When college seems too overwhelming and you are exhausted, take a break. Don’t be afraid to take a step back from the situation and do something fun. Whether it’s a movie night with friends, going longboarding, or something else entirely, take a few moments for yourself to destress and just have fun. I promise it will be worth it. Don’t think about school, or how stressed you are, or all of the million things that you have to do. Instead, just focus on doing something you enjoy. Have fun. Just breathe. This will energize you and help give you the motivation to push through until the end of the semester. There is nothing wrong with taking a break. Don’t be afraid of it. Take time to do things you enjoy.  

 

Take Care of Yourself 

Get some sleep. Seriously. Depriving yourself of sleep is only going to make matters worse. I can think of far too many times that I thought pulling an all-nighter would benefit me and my grades, but in the end, I ended up being so exhausted that I did not retain anything I was studying. Take care of yourself. Get those three extra hours of sleep. It will be worth it. If you are already feeling burnt out, then depriving yourself of sleep will only make matters worse. I understand that sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures, but try to get a decent amount of sleep whenever you can, especially when you are feeling burnt out. Take care of yourself.   

 

Manage Your Time Well 

A big thing that I learned about myself upon coming to college was that I am a huge list person. I love lists. There is something so satisfying about checking off items on a list, especially when I am feeling unmotivated. When dealing with college and burnout, it is important that you have some sort of organizational plan to keep you on track. Order things by importance, due date, assignment weight, whatever you need to do to stay organized. If possible, buy a planner and list out all of your due dates and assignments so that you know how to better manage your time. More importantly, set goals for yourself. Each day, come up with a few manageable goals that you can complete that day. Don’t try to overdo it. Keep it reasonable. Even this small act can help you stay motivated to achieve deadlines and push through.   

 

Keep Your Eyes on the Cross 

Don’t neglect your quiet time. No matter how burnt out, stressed, exhausted, frustrated, or anxious you may be feeling, I encourage you to continue diving into the Word daily. This will change your mood instantly. Personally, I can tell the difference when I spend time in God’s Word, as opposed to when I skip this time. Get into the Word. At the end of the day, Jesus is our ultimate sustainer; when we feel completely empty, He will fill our cup. Turn to the One who will satisfy your soul. Who will energize you. Who will give your life meaning. He hasn’t forgotten you. He never will. He hears your cries. Keep your eyes on the Cross. Start your day by meditating on the Word and going to the Lord in prayer. Don’t take chapel for granted. Join a d-group. Get involved in a local church. Take a few moments to remind yourself of what this whole college thing is really about.   

 

Final Thoughts 

Before coming to college, I don’t think I was fully prepared for everything that was to come. Despite the difficulties that have come with college, I wouldn’t change a thing. Since my freshman year at Cedarville, I can see the many ways that the Lord has stretched and grown me in order to be the person that He wants me to be. Don’t be afraid of adversity. Don’t be afraid of change. College is exhausting. There are many days that I question if I should be at Cedarville, but I can see the way that the Lord is working in this place and in me. It won’t be easy, but college is so worth it. Burnout is real, but there are many practical ways to deal with it so that you can push through to the end of the semester.  
 

My final advice is this: don’t wish away the days. College is a special time, and the Cedarville experience is like no other. Don’t take it for granted. College goes by in the blink of an eye. Soak it all up. Experience everything it has to offer. Don’t waste your 1,000 days.  

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