NIAMH MCEWAN & JOSH LABROSSE
College burnout: how to avoid it and what to do if you have it
If you are a college student, chances are you have dealt with burnout at some point in your academic career. Whether it's feeling overwhelmed by the workload from classes, struggling to find a work-life balance, or feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally drained, you probably have experienced burnout.
Burnout can take on many forms and can affect students in different ways. Despite burnout affecting students differently, the major side effects can be felt universally by all students to some degree. Lasell students across campus know the feeling of burnout all too well, particularly the upperclassmen, who tend to have busier schedules and heavier workloads.
Cormac Duffy, a sports management major, is a junior who has experienced a lot of burnout throughout his college experience at Lasell. “I wasn't sleeping well and woke up early for classes. So my headspace was already fuzzy. I kept thinking I could do all my assignments by myself and put more stress on myself to get them done so I wouldn't have to worry about them,” Duffy explained.
Like many college students, Duffy has experienced the frustration, fatigue, and exhaustion that is associated with academic burnout, something Nick Finno, a senior radio and video production major, can also attest to.
Finno claims that his feelings of burnout can be attributed to the number of courses he took on and the amount of extracurricular activity he commits to every semester. “I got burnt out by taking on too many classes and clubs at the same time and not having the proper skills to manage my time properly,” Finno explained. He also went on to explain that his lack of time management skills and putting too much on his plate were very prominent reasons why he suffered frequent burnout early on in his college career.
Although burnout is something that can easily happen to anyone, it can be prevented and managed if dealt with in the right manner. For experienced students like Duffy and Finno, there are many strategies one can implement to prevent and treat academic burnout effectively.
Duffy believes that some of his most effective strategies for preventing burnout are staying organized and asking for help. He said, “I tend to forget to see what needs to be done on the day and procrastinate. So having organization and trying not to procrastinate will be the major things [to avoid burnout]. The third is to ask for help. I'm always scared and stubborn when it comes to that.”
Finno had similar strategies as he explained, “I would say just learning to take breaks and to step away from a project when I’ve experienced obstacles. In the past, I would just continually tackle a project even if I wouldn’t get anywhere with it and just get overly frustrated. But stepping away, although it seems counterproductive, it’s actually helped in managing projects and coursework.”
As upperclassmen, Finno and Duffy had very helpful advice for any Lasers currently experiencing burnout.
“Just try and learn to be more kind to yourself,” Finno explained. “When things get too much for you, don’t be afraid to step away because at the end of the day, the projects will get done. It just depends on when it’ll get done, but just knowing that you have the skills to accomplish your goals helps in that process.”
Duffy also had some wise advice for students going through a period of burnout: “Some tips I would give out are to pace yourself. Not everything has to get done right away and all in one day. The second one is to enjoy yourself, it's okay to take breaks. Everyone needs a break here and there. And lastly, get help if you need it. There's nothing wrong with asking for help. It may be scary but you can do it.”