Burning the Candle at Both Ends—Burnout in Students

With the school year beginning in recent months, the cycle of student stress begins anew. The school year brings with it a plethora of factors that cause stress, including schoolwork and the social lives of students. This is especially true with older students, who have to deal with the aforementioned stressors in addition to mentally taxing college applications. This abundance of work often leads to burnout - a phenomenon characterized by exhaustion as a result of intense workloads. With mental health awareness increasing, it becomes increasingly important to look at the mental health of students.

A report from Florida National University describes burnout as “...a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion that is caused by excessive and prolonged stress” and burnout manifests in many students across the nation. Around 80% of college students report feeling burned out due to the intense workload that they deal with (The Post). With the pandemic, student burnout got worse. The workload associated with regular, in-person school now had to be completed while learning online - a format that may not be conducive to many people’s learning abilities. This would result in the same workload but in a new format, putting much more stress on students. Zoom fatigue - as it is called by some - lowered many’s educational capabilities and forced them to learn on their own, which puts an immense amount of pressure onto students. Burnout manifests differently in every person, however, indicators for burnout generally involve exhaustion, lack of motivation, and low focus. These symptoms have massive consequences in school settings, in which a consistent work ethic is all but required for academic success. As such, burnout poses a great threat to the many blooming minds within the school system. Burnout often acts as one of the biggest roadblocks for student success, and managing burnout is one of the biggest challenges to many students.

The general recommendation psychologists give for managing burnout is to lessen one’s workload, even if it’s only temporary. The exhaustion that comes from having an abundance of work tends to dissipate when the workload becomes more manageable. Focusing on one’s self, either through hobbies, physical activity, or spending time with friends also helps greatly with one’s ability to cope with burnout. Another method of avoiding burnout is through improved organization, as planning work ahead and creating a consistent, but manageable, work schedule can greatly reduce the risk of feeling burned out.

With the incredibly competitive lives of students nowadays, it can be incredibly easy to ignore one’s own mental health, but doing so puts one at great risk. Recognizing feelings of burnout is incredibly pertinent to the health of students nationwide, and learning how to cope with burnout in a healthy fashion plays a crucial role in both one’s health and their success in their academics or career. After all, one’s own health comes first.


Sources:

https://www.fnu.edu/tips-preventing-student-burnout/ https://www.uopeople.edu/blog/what-is-academic-burnout/ http://ndsuspectrum.com/student-burnout-during-the-pandemic/ https://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/09/cover-pressure https://www.thepostathens.com/article/2020/11/students-staff-academic-burnout-national-college -health-assessment#:~:text=The%20National%20College%20Health%20Assessment,higher%20i n%20this%20year%27s%20assessment

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