OPINION: What makes spring semester burnout so hard

Photo courtesy of Christian Erfurt

When spring rolls around and the weather warms up, it’s difficult to focus on anything other than the thought of, “wow, I can’t wait for summer break!”

After trudging through the fall semester, students can be left feeling exhausted by the seemingly never-ending school work. With that comes a lot of stress on students.

Not only is schoolwork itself a huge responsibility, but adding jobs, extracurriculars and balancing work and social life to the mix takes a lot of energy and is often hard to manage.

This constant flow of work can quickly lead to burnout and makes completing tasks much more of a challenge. For example, this article was supposed to be written two weeks ago, but because I’m so burned out, it’s taken me forever to get around to it.

Burnout is caused from a lack of breaks at work or in one’s personal life and can manifest from things like feeling overwhelmed and neglecting personal needs.

Common indicators of burnout include exhaustion, self-isolation and reduced performance at work or in personal lives. 

In this sense, it makes sense that students often find themselves struggling more in the spring semester than in the fall. After a long semester, a month break just isn’t enough time for students to rest and reset before jumping into another 15 weeks of intense learning. 

[Common indicators of burnout include exhaustion, self-isolation and reduced performance at work or in personal lives.]
Photo courtesy of Christian Erfurt

Even with this time off, many students still have jobs and other obligations that can prevent them from taking this time to rest.

Spring break is certainly something to look forward to, but besides that one week, students don’t have any other breaks with the exception of a couple Monday holidays. 

On top of this, since the spring semester largely takes place during the winter season, many students’ mental health is negatively affected by the shortened daylight hours and the constant cold, gloomy weather.

For students who have dealt with burnout for long periods of time, it may feel like the exhaustion is completely unmanageable. However, there are ways to treat it.

According to an article by Southern New Hampshire University, students should stay engaged by taking electives of interest or joining a club or group, develop good study habits and learn to say “no” as a way to keep themselves from being pulled in too many directions.

Other ways to avoid burnout include managing time proficiently, setting realistic expectations and practicing self care. It’s okay if grades aren’t perfect or that students can’t do everything at once. Prioritize tasks to see what truly needs to be focused on, and accept reminders to be kinder to yourself.

Although the spring semester is tough, it’s good to keep in mind that students are right around the corner from a three month break from academics. Since burnout affects almost everyone at some point, it’s also comforting to remember that we’re all in the same boat.

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