Have you ever experienced college burnout?
As you come back from Christmas break and start a new semester, you might still have lingering feelings of college burnout from cramming for exams and trying to wrap everything up for the end of last semester.
Although college burnout is a common affliction, there are ways to avoid it so you can stay focused and energized about your college career.
What is burnout?
Burnout is a state of chronic stress that leads to:
- physical and emotional exhaustion
- cynicism and detachment
- feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment
The first (and biggest) defense you have in your arsenal against college burnout is your relationship with God. Whether you attend a Christian College, public university, take online colleges courses, or attend a community college part time, prayer and communication with God can help tremendously.
God has a plan for you and your life. Talk to Him regularly about that plan. Being a student of God and honoring God at college can go a long way in helping you avoid college burnout. You will know you are on the right path and fulfilling God's plan for your life. Sometimes just simply praying and asking for more time in the day can help you balance your schedule better.
"I want to do everything!"
College students are faced with so many opportunities it is often hard to prioritize and over commitment is easy to do. There are groups, committees, clubs, sports, charity work, part-time jobs, internships, and more. Whew! There are only so many hours in the day.
When you are faced with too many options, keep the following in mind: You don't have to do everything in the same semester. Spread out your involvement in organizations by semesters or years. It’s fine to join a club for a few semesters and then dedicate yourself to a different one in the semesters to come.
Time management is a crucial skill to learn that will serve you well for the rest of your life. The pressure to obtain good grades while rounding out your college experience in a way that will set you up for your future career is huge. Also, professors and counselors are most likely going to encourage you to do more, not less. So it is up to you, with God's help, to say "no" or "maybe later" to those things that just don't fit your scheduled for your current semester.
It is also important to continue to do things that you enjoy. One of the easiest ways to burn yourself out is by not having fun. It's true. And remember, your classmates are in the same boat and might need a gentle reminder to take a study break, catch a movie, go work out, or whatever is that allows you some down time to become refreshed.
The Signs of College Burnout
Help each other and keep an eye on each other for signs of college burnout:
- Chronic fatigue
- Forgetfulness/impaired concentration and attention
- Physical symptoms:
- chest pain
- heart palpitations
- shortness of breath
- gastrointestinal pain
- fainting, and/or headaches
- Increased illness. Because your body is depleted, your immune system becomes weakened, making you more vulnerable to infections, colds, flu, and other immune-related medical problems.
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of enjoyment
- Feelings of apathy and hopelessness
- Increased irritability
- Lack of productivity and poor performance
For a more in-depth description of these symptoms click here.
What to do if you are experiencing College Burnout
Stress and burnout can have serious effects on your health, as you can see from the list above. If you feel you need help managing your stress and schedule, or with any of the above-listed symptoms, please let your family and academic advisor know. You may want to schedule an appointment with your family doctor as well.
Great Lakes Christian College has a Student Success Department than can also help.