How to Avoid Academic Burnout
It’s impossible to live up to your full potential at university if you’re burned out. There are also many other negative consequences of burnout, including exhaustion, negative feelings toward studying, and a lack of creativity. You may notice you’re beginning to feel burned out if your class attendance drops, you miss deadlines, you find it hard to focus, you lose confidence, or you feel tired all the time.
The good news is there are several ways to avoid academic burnout.
1. Choose the Right Classes
It’s common to have high hopes when you start the semester and believe you can take on a heavier schedule than is actually feasible. You may try to do this to graduate earlier or to make an application for an internship more appealing. However, this will backfire if you end up with a busier schedule than you can handle. One strategy is to sign up for several classes and then drop one or two if you realize you’ve taken on too much.
You should also consider exactly which classes you’ll take. Try to choose a balance of classes that require different skills and avoid too many challenging classes at once. Your academic advisor can help you choose classes that go well together.
Finally, look at class times. Most students find it less tiring to spread their classes across the week than to have a large number on one day and nothing on another. In addition, if you know that you focus better in the afternoon, avoid morning classes — or vice versa.
2. Stay in Contact with Your Professors
If you start feeling overwhelmed, turn to your professors for advice. As well as sending them emails, take advantage of office hours to discuss any concerns you have about your studies, including factors that may be contributing to your academic performance. When your professors are aware of any difficulties you’re facing, they can give you advice about where you should focus your attention and how to structure your time to meet due dates for assignments.
3. Have a Recovery Plan
If you’re already feeling burned out, take steps to recover. Don’t start worrying you’ll be unable to meet your goals — there are definitely things you can do to get back on track.
Most importantly, you need to incorporate breaks into your day. Use your downtime for activities that make you feel better, such as spending time with other people or on your hobbies.
Another thing you should do is focus on your overall health. For instance, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Plus, avoid relying on caffeine to keep your energy levels high — sleeping enough and exercising on a regular basis will help you feel better in the long term.
Lastly, go easy on yourself. In addition to cutting down on the number of classes you take, find other ways to reduce your commitments. Plus, don’t stress if you occasionally achieve a grade that’s slightly lower than you had hoped — it’s not the end of the world.
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