How To Prevent Burnout In College

By William Careri

In the current job market where simply having a bachelor’s degree is not enough, college students are continuously pushing themselves to fill their resumes and portfolios with valuable extracurricular’s. While this looks phenomenal to an employer when applying for internships or jobs, the inevitable burnout a college student will face is sometimes too high of a price to pay.

Before It Happens

If you’re a college freshman or sophomore that is eager to jump into becoming involved on your campus and to start building your portfolio, there’s a correct way and a wrong way to approach it.

Most importantly, you need to schedule your time properly. Odds are if you’re a freshman or sophomore, you’re taking around 15 credits consisting of major-focused and general education courses. This already can be daunting, especially for a student that is new to college and hasn’t yet found their groove. If you want to add on any additional clubs, organizations or possibly a job, you’re going to have to schedule it all out. This means utilizing tools like Google Calendar or a classic agenda book. If you don’t write these responsibilities out, it’s only a matter of time before you forget to study for an exam or write a paper. If you have a physical schedule to look at, there’s less of a chance you’ll forget something and minimize stress.

Speaking of scheduling, taking care of your physical and mental health is going to make or break you in the long run. If you don’t make time to possibly work out or take some time to just relax or sleep, you won’t be able to perform at your best in any of your classes or other commitments. After speaking to a few of my friends, here are a few tips they had to give:

–      “Working out doesn’t have to be lifting weights in a gym. If your college has a rock climbing wall, staying fit can be a lot more fun. That way you’re getting out of your dorm room, moving your muscles, but it’s more about just having fun.”

–       “I take 10 minutes every morning when I wake up and avoid looking at my phone to just deep breathe. My roommate wakes up after I do so it’s often quiet in our room. I just sit there, focus on my breathing, and don’t let outside distractions interfere. It starts my day calmly and is great for my mental health.”

–      “It’s okay to play video games and goof around every now and then. Yes, you’re in college, but you also need to get away from the textbooks every now and then to do things you love. If that means playing video games for 30 minutes before bed, so be it.”

In the end, it’s all about managing your time well while also making an effort to take care of yourself. Each week has a new start and you have each Monday to act as a checkpoint to implement new scheduling techniques or healthy habits. Doing these simple things will go a long way in preventing burnout.

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After It’s Already Happened

I’ve been there, and so have a lot of college students. If you’re reading this and know you’re burning out, that’s the first step (that sounded a lot less cliche in my head).

A lot of the advice that I listed above can also be applied here. Odds are if you’ve burnt out or are burning out, you just need to take some time and restructure how you’re doing things. If you aren’t taking care of yourself physically or mentally, make it a point to do so moving forward. If you’ve taken on too many roles, maybe it’s time to take a less hands-on approach for a little while. If you haven’t been doing well in your classes, schedule time to study more.

Most importantly, if you haven’t been getting enough sleep, that should be adjustment number one. It’s understandable if it’s finals week, but outside of that, you should be getting the correct amount of sleep every night.

Also, in an effort to start making changes, truly indulge yourself for a night and do something selfish. Lay in bed and watch Netflix with a bowl of popcorn next to you. Take a nice long shower or bath to just relax and distress. Turn off all the lights in your room, put on your best pair of headphones, and zone out.

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College is extremely stressful, but you need to make the time to relax and take care of yourself both mentally and physically. You are your number one priority and any professor will agree. Grades are very important, and so are extracurricular’s, but make sure you schedule it all out and take on a healthy approach to your college experience.

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