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How to Cope With 'Educational Burnout'

Most of us experience it. Overwhelmed with classes, relationships, sports teams, jobs, etc. In this series, I will be writing about different forms of burnout we can experience throughout our lives. Beginning with something that, in my opinion, we’ve all experienced.

I call it “educational burnout.”

Educational burnout is when we take on the task of either too many classes, a bigger workload for one particular class than we initially expected or a combination of classes/workloads being disrupted by other life events.

As a former student athlete, I experienced this firsthand. I didn’t have anything necessarily overwhelming going on at the time, aside from a few classes, multiple practices a day and a girlfriend. But something that can escalate these things is the actual desire for them combined with the proper balance and schedule to work sufficiently at each of them. At the time, I was only 18, I thought the world of myself and I denied how much I was struggling with focusing on school. My anxiety was going rampant, and that overflowed into everything I did or tried to focus on.

Ultimately, I burned out. I gave up. And I regret it. I quit my team and dropped out of school.

Educational burnout is something I think we all experience. One way or another, it happens. But when we look back at what we have accomplished, the grades we’ve gotten, the progress we’ve made, even if it’s a C- instead of a D+, we have to give ourselves credit and not give up.

Progress is a process.

You don’t just wake up one day and feel like you can bust out straight As. You have to understand the time and effort of getting to that point. And this also doesn’t mean you have to do this all alone. Utilize support networks, talk to counselors, open up to friends and family. Get these things off your chest and out into the open, so not only is it a little less weight on your shoulders, but also weight others will be willing to carry because they care about you and want to see you succeed.

The best piece of advice I can give you is to plan.

Plan out for the burnout.

If we sit down and go over what we have to do, day to day, hour to hour, and schedule out our path to success, the burnout will fade to a kindling fire. And eventually, that fire will subside, and we will be left to spark our own fire, our fire of determination and focus, and let that fire burn until we succeed.

Planning has been the greatest thing that has happened to me when it comes to not only avoiding burnout, but also dealing with my anxiety. It helps me to keep track of myself and keep me busy. This is especially important when you have an underlying mental illness like depression or anxiety, and even other things like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). I know it is not the “cure-all” method, but it’s a start. And a good one at that.

Getty image by AaronAmat

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