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Just Getting Started: The Fight Against Student Burnout

Angèle Hatton
Angèle Hatton - Contributed

By Angèle Hatton

TRURO, N.S. —

It’s almost that time of year again. Midterms are just around the corner, followed by Christmas, New Years, and then, before we know it, graduation. Everyone I know is stressing over applying to universities on top of all the other things they’re usually worried about. A large workload coupled with extracurriculars, managing a social life and a part time job can be a lot to handle. Especially when a lot of the things you are working on aren’t fun or things you enjoy doing. These feelings can lead to something called student burnout. 

Fnu.edu defines Student Burnout as “Feeling overwhelmed, overworked and unable to meet constant demands. While the exact symptoms are different in every case, student burnout usually appears as extreme exhaustion, depression, negative feelings about oneself, and the inability to attend to necessary tasks.” 

I know I’ve experienced some of those symptoms before, and I certainly am feeling exhausted most of the time these days. I understand the stress of always having a million things to get done, as well as the annoyance that comes with having to work hard on something you don’t much care about. 
 
I wanted to include my tips for avoiding / getting rid of student burnout. This brings us to the how-to portion: 

1.    My first tip is to manage your time effectively. You don’t need to go out and spend $30 on a planner at Michaels either. Just use the reminder app on your phone for due dates, and use your calendar app to schedule your time around schoolwork and extracurriculars. 
2.    Be strict about your sleep schedule. Try not to stay up all night every weekend and sleep in until the afternoon the next day. It’s easier to wake up early for school on weekdays when you weren’t up until 3am the night before. A side note- if you are tired and still have an assignment to get done, GO TO SLEEP! I’ve never had a teacher that didn’t accept work one day late. School is important, but not even close to the importance of taking care of yourself. 
3.    Start assignments the day you are given them. I’m not saying you have to write a whole essay the day it’s assigned, but at least get a start. That way you can get things done a little bit at a time and won’t have to rush through it the night before. 
4.    Procrastination is your enemy. I’ve heard people say they procrastinate because they can get everything done in a few short hours the night before. However, any work you complete at the very last second is not your best and you could receive a much higher mark if you had just taken the time to do it well. The goal is to be proud of everything you hand in to your teachers. Why do something you wouldn’t be proud of? 
5.    Make sure to take time for self care. This goes along with time management but is important enough to warrant its own write up in my opinion. You work better when you feel better, so once a day, whenever you can find the time, do something that you enjoy. (Examples include doing face masks, reading for fun, playing video games, watching a YouTube video, or something on Netflix, scrolling through vsco).  
6.    Talk to people (teachers, parents, friends, siblings) about how you’re feeling. I’m sure they’ll be able to relate. Those older than you may have even more tips than me about dealing with burnout which is nice. It’s also nice to feel like you’re not alone! 
7.    Try a social media break. This one will definitely be hard, as it’s an integral part of our lives by now having lived with it for so long. But it’s also distracting and sometimes not the best place to be spending your time, especially if you’re already in a tough place mentally. Whatever you do though, do not announce a social media break and then return the next day. The point of this is not to receive external attention/validation, it’s to distance yourself from the need for it! 

I think the hardest thing is that you always want to do your best at everything, even when completing tasks you don’t want to be working on at all. The thing with school is that there’s going to be classes you’re not good at, ones you’d rather not take at all. But you do. And while it’s frustrating and stressful to try and succeed at something you naturally dislike, it makes you smarter certainly, and a better student because of it. 

Overall I think burnout is something everyone will deal with at some point, and I hope my tips can be helpful to anyone struggling. 

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