Surviving College Burnout: Tips and Strategies for Students

March 9, 2023
By AdmissionSight
A man looking out a glass room looking very sad.

Surviving College Burnout: Tips and Strategies for Students

Have you ever found yourself feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and lacking motivation in college? If so, you’re not alone. College burnout is a real and common experience among students, especially with the increasing demands of academic and social life.

It can negatively impact your academic performance, mental health, and overall well-being. But don’t worry, as there are ways to overcome this and regain your energy and enthusiasm.

In this blog, we’ll explore practical tips and strategies for surviving college stress so that you can thrive in your academic journey. Whether you’re a freshman or a senior, these tips can help you stay focused, productive, and motivated, even during the most challenging times. So, let’s dive in and learn how to beat stress!

What is college burnout?

What does it mean to be burned out in college? Most of the time, college life comes with a good amount of worry. When you have a part-time job, do extracurricular activities, and take more than one class simultaneously, college can be hard to handle.

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed from time to time. However, if you feel like you’ve lost touch with both your schoolwork and your friends, you may be suffering from stress.

Female student looking bored in a classroom.

The word college stress refers to a long period of time in which a person feels very tired and unmotivated. This often causes the person’s academic performance to drop.

There are a lot of things that can lead to exhaustion in college students, but the most common ones are too much work and high amounts of stress over a long period of time.

People often use this word to mean feeling worried and tired, but it’s actually a bit more serious and harder to spot. Students who are suffering from stress often keep going even though they are already tired. This happens instead of the students breaking down or hitting their breaking point.

This negatively affects every part of a student’s life, including how well they do in school. People who are stressed out usually see their grades drop and lose interest in taking care of their social lives, physical health, and overall well-being.

They may feel disconnected from their classes or have doubts about them. They may also be less successful in school, which adds to this burden.

For many students, this is their first time going to classes, doing extracurricular activities, having a busy social life, having a full-time or part-time job, and being away from home without the help of family. This can be a hard change for some, but for others, it can be a freeing one.

What does burnout feel like?

What does burnout feel like? Tired college students may feel disconnected from their education, seem unmotivated, drop out of classes, or not do their homework.

Hand holding paper cut head on white background

Because going to college for many people is the same as having a full-time job, college stress often has the same signs as when adults get burned out at their jobs.

Some of the signs that you’re too tired for college are:

  • Mental, physical, and spiritual exhaustion on all fronts
  • A lack of enthusiasm for participating in activities
  • Poor academic achievement
  • Excessive class absenteeism
  • Difficulty interacting with instructors and with other students
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of drive or interest
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Trouble sleeping or relaxing
  • Not being able to do even the most basic tasks, like getting out of bed
  • Insomnia
  • Forgetting things or not being able to pay attention to what needs to be done
  • Having a sense of emptiness or emotional distance
  • Feeling less motivated and driven in some parts of your life, like in relationships, at work, or in school
  • Less of a need to eat
  • Body problems and symptoms, such as nausea, abdominal pain, headaches, or soreness in the gastrointestinal system
  • Having feelings of anger or irritation all the time

Causes of Burnout in College

When they go to college, students quickly find themselves with many new tasks, which can be too much for them to handle on their own. Most of the time, this is their first time away from home and the people who help them.

A man looking distressed while sitting on the pavement.

They have to deal with academic and extracurricular standards, as well as learn how to get along with new people, all while handling the needs of school, work, and relationships in a new place. If students don’t handle these duties correctly, they can become very upset, eventually making them tired.

Some of the things that make college students tired are listed below:

  • Social disconnection or lack of access to peers
  • Graduation depression or anxiety
  • Loneliness due to social isolation
  • Stress from working a part-time job
  • Stress from family dynamics
  • Financial stress
  • High expectations for self
  • Pressure or expectations from others
  • Struggling with grades
  • Uncertainty about future
  • Job search fears or employment difficulties
  • Student loan repayment
  • Housing concerns after college
  • Relationship changes
  • Low self-esteem and low self-efficacy

How do you cope with college burnout?

How do you keep from getting too stressed out in college? When you’re feeling stressed out, it can seem like there’s no easy way to fix the problem, but making a few small changes can make a big difference. Here is a list of the best tips for dealing with being tired in college.

Learn to Say No

Many college students feel a lot of pressure to work hard and get ahead. But being able to say no has perks that can help a student for the rest of their life.

Taking charge of their duties is a key step in fighting tiredness. Students might get tired if they take on more tasks, like helping to organize events.

Group of female students laughing and talking in front of a laptop.

That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t work on projects with other people or forget to study for tests. Instead, you should think carefully about where you can save energy and give the most attention to the things that are most important to you.

For example, first-year students who go to every event, group, and extracurricular activity to which they are asked might get tired. Choose one or two student groups to join instead of all six offered. Choose one sport outside of school to do each season instead of all three.

Focus on Time Management

Students in college often take on big side jobs or important projects without first thinking about how much time they will take.

Students who are good at managing their time do their work more quickly and well. Students must make sure they have more time than they think they’ll need and don’t procrastinate. Persistently procrastinating is directly linked to chronic stress, worry, sickness, and poor health in general. On top of that, it is a surefire way to get exhausted.

Prioritize Sleep and Exercise

Getting enough rest and moving around more would help improve a person’s mental health. By making exercise a regular part of one’s routine and focusing on getting enough sleep, one can both avoid and treat fatigue.

Students don’t have to learn how to power lift to reach their exercise goals. Walking more or going to the school gym twice a week can have a big effect.

Getting the suggested 7-9 hours of sleep might be harder. Students can improve the quality of their sleep by making sure they go to bed at the same time every night, putting away their mobile phones, and making sure the room they sleep in is dark and quiet.

Set Reasonable Goals

Having too many things to do at the same time is stressful. Having goals that are too big is also a factor. Signing up for an extra class at the beginning of the term might be a good way to save money on fees, but it could also lead to burnout if students take on too much.

Using a plan to reach goals can help ease stress. Instead of trying to cram as much as possible into their schedule or staying up all night to study for their exams, students must set more reasonable goals for themselves.

For example, a first-year student who takes on more tasks shouldn’t expect to keep a perfect 4.0 GPA. Adding a job to a schedule that is already full can be hard on a person’s emotions.

Make Time for Fun

College is more than just classes. If students do schoolwork every waking minute of the day, they will definitely be tired by the end of the semester.

Students are less likely to get burned out if they can put their work aside to do things they enjoy. But talking to family and friends is at the top of their list of things to do. Students can do this by setting up weekly phone calls with family or regular meetings with friends.

Students shouldn’t think about school too much when they’re on vacation. They should try not to let the stress of their work or responsibilities get in the way of other things they do. They should take a break from their schoolwork in their mind so that when they get back to it, they’ll be ready to go.

Ask for Help

Since most college students experience mental fatigue, it’s important to learn how to ask for help. This could mean getting help from people you know who are going through similar problems or from family members.

Students must look into the mental health tools, like counseling classes, that their school has to offer. By talking to a psychologist, students can improve their ability to handle stress and learn how to deal with it before it wears them out.

In conclusion, college burnout is a common experience that can impact students’ academic performance, mental health, and overall well-being. Various factors, such as academic pressures, social obligations, and personal challenges, can cause it.

However, there are practical tips and strategies that can help them overcome stress and regain their energy and enthusiasm. By incorporating these strategies into their daily routine, they can manage their stress levels, stay focused, and maintain their motivation throughout their college journey.

Remember, stress is not a sign of weakness but rather a signal that it’s time to take care of oneself. So, be kind to yourself, take breaks when needed, and remember that you can overcome college exhaustion with the right mindset and support.

Seeking guidance and support can make a significant difference in managing stress and thriving in your academic journey.

Here at AdmissionSight, our team of experienced consultants provides personalized guidance and support to help you achieve your academic and personal goals. Book your initial consultation today!

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