I was so burnt out that I could not write this story.
Originally, I was going to write a news story depicting stress and burnout across our university campus and get perspectives from other students to give advice and tips as we get closer to finals, but what is more telling about the subject than experiencing the exact thing I was supposed to cover?
Post-midterm season can be a rough time for many students. Midterm season kicks off at the start of the second half of the semester, which is busy and filled with project after project. As finals approach, the second half of the semester is almost always busier than the first.
Trying to balance academic life and personal life can be a constant cycle of feeling like there is not enough time for both.
That cycle has been all too real for many. Throughout the semester, I have found myself having conversations with friends and classmates about always feeling behind and like there is not enough time to do everything.
That feeling is even worse when you actually do fall behind. Trying to catch up, while keeping up with current assignments, is a struggle that is draining and mentally taxing.
I fell behind before midterms and am just now catching up over a month later. Assignments, papers, exams, and projects, all can take a long time to complete, and many students sacrifice their mental health to complete them.
However, when I found my mental energy low, it was harder to stay motivated, and it took longer to get through even the simplest of assignments.
Staring at the screen, trying to will the words to write themselves because I am too exhausted to work, does not get me anywhere.
When I try to prioritize my mental health and give myself room to breathe and rest, I am suffocated once again, because assignments do not complete themselves, even if we wish that they did.
Focusing on my mental health causes me to fall behind, but focusing on my academics causes my mental health to drop, which in turn puts me behind due to exhaustion.
There is no good answer, and many other students also face this same never-ending cycle.
Burnout is not only a mental collapse, but also a physical one. On top of the lack of motivation and interest, irritability, depression, feelings of failure or uselessness, and trouble concentrating, burnout can also cause symptoms like insomniac tendencies, headaches, stomach and muscle aches, and a weakened immune system.
How are students supposed to work hard and do well in their classes when they are mentally and physically exhausted?
We are told to take care of ourselves, but there is no time. Sacrificing rest or sacrificing academics, both continue that never-ending cycle.
When someone gets sick, they are supposed to rest in order to heal and get better, but how are we supposed to get the rest that we need without letting the workload pile up?
The school does offer some options to help overwhelmed students, such as tutoring in the Learning Center, counseling in the Wellness Center, and a plethora of professors who want to see students succeed.
However, those only help so much when the pressure to do well is on us overwhelmed students from all sides.