Burnout: a societal norm

The experience of burnout and what UW Tacoma students have to say about it.

Burnout: with spring quarter now in full swing I’m sure we are feeling it with the end of the school year and graduation nearing. As someone who has taken 60 credits this year after this quarter and works part-time, I can say I’m right there with you. If you are like me, then you take on a lot more than you probably should, or maybe just can’t say no when an opportunity comes up. This in turn leaves us little time for ourselves to recharge. Why is that? Why is there societal pressure to always be doing something?

I recently posted a Google Form asking UW students about their experience with burnout and what they do to recover or cope with it and there were a variety of responses. Some students worked part-time jobs, some full-time jobs. Some were involved with extracurricular activities. But when asked about burnout, the responses were mostly the same. Many said they were burnt out or have been burnt out since autumn.

When asked if spring break had been long enough, it was agreed that it really had not been. Many had said they spent days sometimes sleeping, trying to recover from burnout or that they had not even been able to enjoy the break since they were too exhausted. It seems that one week is not enough time to recover from nearly three months of intense academic work and personal obstacles while also being able to enjoy life a little. Last quarter was filled with them if you ask me; on campus alone there were issues with car theft,damage, attempted intruders and gas leaks in Court 17. 

Burnout, without societal change, is something that will always be present. There are things we can do to cope with it and also overcome it. Consistently getting enough sleep is obviously the number one thing that helps you recharge, literally. Second, it’s perfectly acceptable to take time to do something you enjoy. Being someone who is constantly working is draining, you need to take time for yourself and what you enjoy. Hobbies are a healthy part of life and can help with other aspects of your life including mental health and physical health. Lastly, finding a balance between working and working too much, or balancing your schedule to allow yourself time to just be is another way to keep from burning out. Taking on too much is the main cause of burnout, not that I’m one to judge.

Overall, burnout is something that has been normalized here in the U.S., especially within college students. It’s important to find ways to cope and also recognize that it is not in fact normal. We need to be taking care of ourselves and also working towards our goals. Again, it’s all about balance.