Are You Burnt-Out? Planning Wisely to Prevent Overload

After high school, I went to a university on-campus. I was 18, energetic, and fully focused on school. My only responsibility, really, was school. I got a work-study job on campus, which was basically paid study time! Thus, taking 18 credits in one semester was both feasible and smart. Due to personal circumstances, I left after my freshman year.

Fast forward a few years and I am 24, a wife and mother, and ready to return to school. Obviously, this time around, I had much more going on in my life than just school, which led me to the World Campus.

Now, into my fourth semester in school, the mental, emotional, and physical toll of being in school is much greater than that first year on-campus. Many of us World Campus students are juggling life with school, jobs, families, etc. Although not recognized as a disorder, being burnt-out is a very real occurrence. Our bodies will physically react to such exhaustion and stress, which can then affect our overall performance in school.

Below, I will list a few recommendations, some of which have helped me, to prevent getting burnt-out.

  • Don’t try to take too many courses in one semester. If you are like me, you may want to take the maximum number of credits possible in a semester in order to get your degree as fast as possible. However, it is important to remember that each class usually requires 4-6 hours of work each week. If you are unable to dedicate 36 hours to school each week, then it is probably wise not to take 6 classes.
  • Consider taking the summer off. While taking summer classes may help in getting your degree faster, taking a break may be better for your overall health and scholastic abilities. Take a vacation, join a summer softball league, do things you’d otherwise be unable to do if you were taking classes.
  • Take breaks. If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed with schoolwork, stress, and other aspects of life, step back and do something fun. Life may only grant you a few minutes, maybe a few hours, but take whatever time you have and give yourself a break. Go for a walk, treat yourself to a nice lunch at your favorite restaurant, go see a movie. Getting your mind off of school and other stressful things in life for a bit may actually help in re-focusing and relaxing.
  • Eat well, get plenty of sleep. We all know by now that what we eat and how much we sleep affects our bodies to a great degree. Time may be short, but grabbing a salad instead of a burger from a fast food joint will help you stay energized and focused when needing to work on school projects. Read more about sleep and its affects here.
  • Talk. If you feel that life is too chaotic and overwhelming, there are many people willing to help. Counselors, friends, spouses, and advisers can all help give encouragement and advice on how to de-clutter and de-stress life. Get to know your academic adviser and professors and don’t be afraid to talk to them about your concerns and life issues that may affect performance. They are there to help!