With the final stretch of the spring 2022 semester before us, students are racing toward the end in an attempt to catch a break. College burnout is becoming a reality for many students this year, and it’s no longer just because of tests and stacking assignments. Burnout refers to the students’ feeling of exhaustion and working themselves to their limit, or even over physical or mental capacity. This is not uncommon for students to feel academic burnout as their semesters go by. It is a result of some living in what feels like survival mode for an extended period of time.
The return to in-person campus classes and activities has brought a sense of normal back to our everyday lives. However, this busyness of social events and interaction on campus takes a toll on our energy levels. With the pandemic causing distancing and loss of everyday social contact, we lost the ability to communicate in the simplest of ways. The natural interactions in our everyday life got erased. Conversations with coffee shop baristas and basic questions from restaurant waiters were paused amidst the pandemic restrictions.
The pandemic changed the way we communicate as a society. The simple act of small talk was majorly impacted by a lack of practice. We fell out of the ability to train our communication skills, therefore losing much of our endurance to hold long conversations and focus on certain topics.
On top of the stress of assignments and trying to be reintroduced into the high energy of the college social life, students’ mental health is plummeting as we try to keep our heads above water. While it would be easy to say the midterms and finals are the cause of student stress, that does not cover the full scope.
College campuses across the country show a small picture of what society struggles with as a whole. As microcosms of our society, campuses across the country show the increased stressors and mental health issues brought by COVID-19 that continue to affect our everyday lives. The hustle mentality of productivity adds increased pressure as we try to balance our mental health, emotional wellbeing, academics, and work lives.
So how do we move forward out of this exhaustion? The first step would be to take regular breaks, intentionally setting aside time to take a quick walk, call your mom, or grab a coffee. Close your laptop and textbook for longer than five minutes. Reach out to friends and family. Most people have gone through some form of burnout in their life and can understand the stressors that it may entail. Sharing feelings with peers, professors, and family members could help you to feel less isolated. Sometimes a few outside trusted voices can help you feel more optimistic and find better ways to help manage your workload.
So let us carry on, my friend; we are near the end of a busy school year and rest will come to the weary.
“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”