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The burn out of the semester, how exhaustion coupled with a global pandemic is affecting students

(Photo courtesy Lucas Araiza/The Occidental) Student burn out is affecting a multitude of students this semester.

Kaitlyn Sullivan
Connector Staff

As Midterm season comes and goes, I am sure that many students are experiencing the dreaded yet inevitable burnout. If you have been fortunate enough to have never experienced burnout, it is a state of constant exhaustion that is brought on from an immense amount of stress, typically from outside forces such as work or school. It can lead one to feel overwhelmed and hopeless as more and more work gets assigned.

Never before has the concept of time been more apparent as deadlines are coming from seemingly out of nowhere and all of it feels impossible. Do not fret though, you are not alone in this endeavor. I have found myself listening to my burnout playlist on repeat for several weeks now.

Regarding my own personal experiences with burnout, I find it to be a vicious cycle. I get stressed from all the work that is due, that causes me to struggle with finding the motivation needed to get it done, which causes even more stress.

Then, as deadlines get closer, I become more frantic and I fixate on assignments, but then I fail to take care of myself. In all honesty, I feel tired.

I am always tired and not even a good night’s sleep can cure it. I feel overworked, and that does not even take into account all of the other responsibilities I have outside of school such as work, family, social life, clubs etc.

It all feels impossible to do. While some people may find my experiences with burnout relatable, others may not.

Something that I have noticed within myself is that my burnout this semester seems different to others from past years, most likely due to the pandemic. I have talked to some other people about their experiences, and most seem to agree that it’s been more difficult to overcome now.

After spending a year inside of our houses with suddenly most of our daily responsibilities put on hold, it almost seems as if we are out of practice and now we’re being thrown right back in.

One of my friends noted how work life has integrated with home life and now the lines are blurred, which is absolutely true. While it is great to be back to in-person classes, the fact that we had to transform our bedrooms into classrooms for a year was a lot to take on and some may still need time to recover.

There is no denying that the pandemic has left a huge strain on many aspects of our lives. It is going to take some time for us to find our footing on things, whether that may be social, mental, or emotional.

As I stated before, this burnout has shown me that a lot of us are out of practice from our old daily responsibilities, so it is important that we all work at our own pace to readjust from that. I feel that it is important for the university to be aware that all of us are coming out of this in different places from this unprecedented event.

I am very fortunate to have had many professors who are understanding of that and willing to work with their students, but others may not be as lucky. Patience is crucial at a time like this. If we want the school to have a positive learning environment, authorities need to have patience with their students or else they may risk them going through severe burnout.

While I am by no means a professional on burnout aside from my experiences, it is still important to know that there are many ways of handling it. For me personally, I turn to things that make me happy. Whether that’s listening to music, watching a good show or being around friends, I find that these moments of happiness get me back on track.

On top of that, I try to do what I can to make sure that I am taking care of my body through eating enough meals and getting a full-night’s sleep when possible. I hear that exercise is also a great form of releasing the stress from burnout or other relaxing activities, like yoga, are good for relieving tension.

It’s  important to build up your own support system and know that there are always people willing to help. Within the university, it is important to be commutative with your professors and utilize resources that the school has such as the Wellness Center.

At times, it may feel as if you may never free yourself from your burnout slump, but know that it is not permanent. If you can get through this semester after everything you have gone through over the last year, you can take on anything.

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