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Avoiding Academic Burnout This Semester

The beginning of the school year can be one of the most stressful times of the semester. You have to adjust to your new class schedules, meet new professors, and get in the routine of adding schoolwork into your busy schedule along with work or other personal obligations.

Many college students, new or veteran, struggle with the adjustment. Here are some tips on how to avoid getting burnt out during the first few weeks of school.

  1. Make Time for Hobbies
    Unfortunately, summer is over, and you have even less time on your hands for hobbies. However, it’s important to make time to do things that help you de-stress so you don’t crash and burn under your workload.
    When you take time for doing your hobbies, it helps you detach from school and reduce your stress levels. This could be as simple as taking 20 minutes out of your day to sit down and read the book you’ve been meaning to get to or catch up on a couple of episodes of your favorite show.
    Always make sure you are prioritizing your mental health and maintaining a healthy balance between your schoolwork and personal time.
  2. Pet a Dog (or really any animal)
    Pets are one of the best company to keep. In times of stress, they can be an instant mood booster. If you or your friends have a pet close to your new home, take the opportunity to make a quick pit-stop to give them some love and yourself a break.
    You can also watch out for any events on campus that allow you to interact and de-stress with some dogs! The dogs will appreciate getting love and attention from you, and you get the opportunity to pet some adorable animals, so it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.
  3. Stay Organized
    It’s not always easy to stay organized and motivated throughout the semester. Sometimes, students are still in “summer-mode” when returning to school and struggle with time management.
    A senior animation student, Liam Lubitz, explained, “Avoiding burnout is a good mix of time management and listening to your body. I break down all my bigger tasks and projects that are assigned at the beginning of the semester as soon as I can, and I start assigning the tasks to days. Any progress is good progress.”
    Using a calendar app, either through the school-provided Microsoft Office calendar or your own calendar app on your phone, can help you stay organized. You could even buy a yearly planner to carry with you if you prefer a more tangible way to plan your semester.
  4. Listen to Your Body
    If you try to push yourself when you are already wearing yourself thin, it’s only going to cause issues in the long run. If you feel tired, go to bed early or take a quick nap instead of continuing to push yourself.
    Lubitz added, “I try and listen to my body when it needs a break, food, water, or a nap. Self-care takes you a long way, so splurge on that fancy drink sometimes if it is something that will make you happy and keep yourself organized.”
    Do not go for extended periods of time without eating and drinking. Always plan time for well-balanced meals to continue fueling your body so you can keep moving forward. If you feel yourself struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out to your professors. Most are very open to extensions when necessary and will also prioritize your health over a due date.
  5. Avoid Procrastination
    Do not procrastinate. It is easier said than done, but if you are one of those people who gets stressed under pressure, do not wait until the last minute. If you have time, consider just banging out your work so you reduce your stress levels and have time for self-care.
    A senior creative writing student, Christina Rodriquez, commented, “I try to pace myself with my work, but if there’s just so much to do, sometimes you got to step on the gas to do it all in one shot.”
    While the school year can be a difficult time for many students mentally and physically, make sure you’re actively taking some steps to make your academic experience the best it can be.