Burnout Rages Among College Students

This is the first in a series of three blog posts on burnout in college students. We visited the counseling center, talked with students, and used personal experiences.

By ANNELISE MILLER, CSU Student Staff Writer

With finals week approaching, many of us are suffering from burnout more than ever. Cleveland Clinic says, “According to the APA Dictionary of Psychology, burnout is defined as ‘physical, emotional or mental exhaustion, accompanied by decreased motivation, lowered performance and negative attitudes towards oneself and others.’ It is something we have likely all experienced, though for different amounts of time and to different extents. 

If you feel as though you are suffering from burnout, you are not alone. Dr. Kimberly Sommers from the Counseling Center said burnout is common among college students.

“Yes, I think with all of the pressures that students face and the grind of the semester, students often experience burnout – especially at this time in the semester,” Sommers said. “It makes it more difficult to focus, learn, and create which then develops into more stress and increased chances for burnout.”

One Minnesota State Mankato student, Carly, comments on her experience with burnout. “There are many times during the semester when I do not want to do things I know I have to do. I feel as though the world never stops and there is something I have to do to remain afloat.”

When experiencing burnout, she thinks things such as “Why is there so much to do?” or “I don’t want to keep going.” Another student wishing to remain unnamed says “This time of year I feel like I should be relieved that the end of the semester is near. But actually, I don’t think I can see the end at all.”

So, how do you know if you’re experiencing burnout? Well, it has symptoms. I feel like many of us could relate to one or many. 

  • Fatigue: For many people experiencing burnout, it first comes in the form of tiredness. Constantly wanting to sleep or nap (more than usual), feeling sluggish and slow when trying to complete tasks, and constantly zoning out is caused by fatigue- and are a sign of burnout.
  • Apathy: This is the feeling experienced when things, such as work or school, just don’t seem to matter. Maybe you don’t do an assignment because “what’s even the point?” You start to not care if you succeed or fail. It all becomes the same. Everyone has bad days every now and then, but when this feeling becomes constant, it is an issue. 
  • Headaches: While headaches can be caused by physical factors such as tension or eye strain, stress is also a major cause. If burnout is causing you to feel stressed, you may also experience headaches. 
  • Changes in Sleep and Diet: If you start sleeping more or less than usual (can’t get out of bed in the morning or newly developed insomnia), burnout could a reason. So too are changes in eating habits. Stress leading to burnout could mean you start eating more or eating less than usual and/or be unhealthier than before.

NEXT IN THE SERIES: Coping with burnout.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *