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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Handling post-midterm burnout and prioritizing self-care

Alex Kendall

As we come out of midterm season, the combination of academic pressure, cramming and a lack of sleep is a recipe for burnout.

Being a college student can be tough on your mental health. You’re finding your sense of independence and, for the first time, you can create your own schedule. When that happens, it becomes easy to slip into the habit of skipping class and not doing any work. I can admit that I have done both of these at one time or another, especially during midterm season.

Sometimes when I’m studying, I worry about what everyone around me is doing and wonder if I’m doing as well as the rest of my peers, both academically and socially. I actively ponder the thought of who I would’ve been if I didn’t do so much.

As a sophomore, I’m working an on-campus job, as well as taking part in student organizations and taking my allotted classes for the semester. 

I know that I’m not alone in this type of situation. From what I’ve seen, burnout is a common occurrence. I decided to have a conversation with one of my organization advisors about how I was feeling. She told me, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

That phrase really stuck with me and now I say it to everyone. It means that you can’t keep giving people time and energy when you aren’t feeling that energy yourself. I did what was best for me and took a step back from activities and it helped. Every once in a while I still stress out to the point where I can no longer function, however, I’ve learned the importance of self-care.

When they first start college, most students try to figure out where they can fit in. This leads to signing up for several different activities and organizations that can quickly fill a schedule. It comes to a point where my friends and I often talk about how we’ve taken on too much.

During midterm week of my first year, I struggled with finding the motivation to study or do work because I was constantly tired or stressed out from the organizations I’m in or the amount of work I had to do. 

Around 40% of college students have found themselves too stressed out to even function, according to Malvern Behavioral Health.

The “too stressed to function” mindset is one that I am all too familiar with. I have been constantly stressing out about school since my sophomore year of high school. I knew I could feel myself falling behind in my classes, but it didn’t hit that hard until I got to Quinnipiac University.

The burnout of taking classes and participating in organizations recently got to me. Darling Downs Health, a health and wellness organization based in Australia, provides a list of some of the burnout symptoms I was feeling. When I feel burnt out, I have constant headaches, my anxiety increases and I tire myself out, even if I get a good night’s sleep.

Even as a current sophomore who just switched my major to a subject I am more passionate about, I still find myself in a low-motivation mindset where I don’t want to do anything, because I have a to-do list that feels like it stretches out for miles.

Unfortunately, the semester is going to keep getting more difficult. Even after midterms, there are very few breaks or days off. When I look at the Quinnipiac academic calendar, there are no days off the entire month of October. When students arrive back to campus after Thanksgiving break, there are no days off until after finals. 

With a mere two weeks of classes between Thanksgiving break and finals, the race to cram material in before the end of the semester creates unwanted stress for students. Since everyone has a different threshold for stress, people handle the increased workload differently.

There are many different ways to practice self-care to avoid burnout. The National Institute of Mental Health provides good examples such as setting goals, exercising and even finding a relaxing activity.

I have found that my forms of self-care include sleeping, reading and listening to my favorite music. I make a playlist for all of my moods and can turn to music when I’m feeling down.

Understandably, it can feel difficult to find time for self-care when you have an insanely busy schedule, just as I do. Granted, I chose this for myself. However, the mid-semester burnout is beginning to creep into my daily life and I’m still trying to navigate the self-care that I need.

Self-care and taking time off have become essential to me when getting through the midterm burnout. It’s important to take breaks and be able to focus on yourself, even if that sounds like the last possible option. But trust me when I tell you, you’re doing great — even if you don’t think you are.

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Casey Wiederhold
Casey Wiederhold, Photography Editor

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