Recovering From College Burnout: 10 Tips 12

StethoscopeThis is part two of my series on college burnout.  In part one, I examined some of the symptoms burnout victims experience. In part two, I explained some of the causes of burnout. Today, in part three, I will mention some ways to recover from burnout.

College burnout is similar to normal burnout. In fact, the only difference is the victim: college burnout affects students while normal burnout affects people in the workplace.

If you think that you are experiencing the symptoms of college burnout, some of the tips outlined below might help you recover.

1. Contact Your Doctor

If you think you are suffering burnout, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Not only can your doctor help evaluate whether you really have burnout, but he can also help you recover if you do have burnout.

Also, remember that the ideas mentioned in this post are not medical advice and should not be used without your doctor’s advice.

2. Get More Sleep

Lack of sleep builds stress and can, over a long period of time, cause burnout. Therefore, if you are suffering from burnout, you may want to evaluate whether your stress is caused by too little sleep.

3. Lessen Course Load

A too-rigorous schedule can also cause burnout. If you are trying to do too much, stress can build up quickly.

If this is the cause of your burnout, simply lessening your course load might solve the whole problem.

4. Become More Social

If you have been a working too much and not spending enough time socializing, that might be the entire problem.

Start spending more time with others, and your burnout might burn itself out!

5. Start a Hobby

If you have been spending too much time working on school, work, and other difficult tasks, you might want to start adding more free time to your schedule.

During this newly found time, consider starting a hobby. Don’t worry about choosing one that is closely related to your projected career plan, but, instead, find one that you truly enjoy.

6. Cut Some Extracurriculars

If you participate in too many school-related activities, it may have the same effect as taking too many classes.

Stop some of the activities and replace them with a hobby as outlined in tip five.

7. Consider Changing Majors

Another possible cause of burnout is working toward a major that does not fit you well.

Although changing majors may seem like a big step, it is much easier to change majors in college than to change careers after college.

In fact, if you change early enough in college, changing majors might not take any extra time.

8. Gap Year

If you are just worn out with too much school, a type of “gap year” might be the best cure.

Normally, the gap year takes place between high school and college, but a similar break year might be advantageous during college itself if you are to stressed.

9, Change Something

In short, ending burnout requires change.

If you are experiencing college burnout, the worst option would be to simply continue and hope that it goes away. Unless you change something, you cannot expect the stress to lessen.

Try to find the cause of your burnout and stop the stress at its source.

Have you experienced college burnout? If so, what is your advice?

Important Note: As always, remember that I am not a health care professional, and the tips mentioned here are for entertainment and informational purposes only. Please contact your doctor if you think you have college burnout.

12 thoughts on “Recovering From College Burnout: 10 Tips

  1. Reply Patti Apr 29,2010 4:48 PM

    Hi! I definitely experienced college burnout during my junior year of college (4th year out of 5 since Northeastern University is a 5 year program). I worked really hard since freshman year and my junior year was one of the hardest. I was planning on doing a 6-month co-op (paid internship) starting in July, but ended up going to San Francisco for a break from classes and work. My boyfriend was co-oping in SF so it was easy for me to get out there. While away I didn’t work and just traveled around town during the days.

    I came back in September ready to work. My senior year course load was much lighter and I started crafting. I had an amazing creative streak going for a while. I pretty much did 4 things off your list. Good post!

  2. Reply Brianna Jun 10,2010 11:29 AM

    I’m currently experiencing all symptoms of burnout. I’m a junior at Ole Miss and have to take a rigorous course load to graduate ASAP. I wish I could just “take time off” or “drop some classes” but unfortunately that’s not possible for everyone . . . I just wish there was an easy cure.

  3. Reply Tiffany Jul 2,2010 2:00 AM

    I’m currently suffering severe burnout, I’m 30 cr away from graduation but I have NO motivation and my grades are showing it. I’m just tired of EVERYTHING, and its making me somewhat depressed. I met with my advisor and I’ve decided to push my graduation back a semester or two to just relax and take silly classes that remind me why I wanted this education in the first place- wine tasting, art, ceramics, music, creative writing and such. This is a GREAT list, and really confirms my ideas and plans for dealing with my burnout

  4. Reply Megan Jul 8,2010 10:32 AM

    I’m experiencing it now. I have taken on a heavy cours load this summer, but I have to get through these classes. They are hard and fast paced. I work part time too. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. My interest and motivation are decreasing quickly

  5. Reply Dawn Sep 7,2010 11:15 PM

    I had a major case of college burnout this morning. It’s the second week of class. All the student parking lots were full, and class had started. I’m driving around, there’s morning traffic, people honking at me, and I literally burst into tears. I finally got a spot in the parking lot, but I was so upset that I just drove home. When I got in the house, I went online and dropped almost all my classes. I realized that I was pushing myself waaayy to hard and putting pressure on myself to take a full course load to continue to get my partial scholarship. Well, moms always know best. I had a sit down with mine and she told me that stress is not good for your health. There’s nothing wrong with normal amounts of stress, but if you’re crying over parking somethings wrong. And I realized it had nothing to do with that. I was already trying to figure out how I was gonna pull this off once I realized that three of my classes have multiple group projects. One class alone had 7 group presentations, yikes! Don’t get me wrong, I loovee marketing and I am so interested in consumer behavior. Being in business school is very competitive and tough; I know it comes with the territory. But it is not worth it to push yourself when your brain is screaming “NO MORE!” I have been a full-time student since my freshman year. I never really took any breaks. I’ve made the dean’s list three times and I have gotten a few scholarships, so it was hard for my ego. But don’t take advice about this from anyone else because only you know what is best for you. I am taking two elective courses and I am returning all these business books tomorrow! So I pushed my graduation a bit further away. But who cares I’m only 22, & I got 9 classes left. You can look at the glass as being half empty or half full. At first I thought, I was gonna have a harder time getting an internship or I was gonna end up graduating at 30. But does it really matter what your age is when you graduate if you’re absolutely miserable?! Plus now I don’t feel like I’m going to loose my mind. I know that I will sleep good tonight. Trust me, don’t rush through college b/c I run into so many people that are go-getters and than their last semester they just flunk everything.

  6. Reply khjue2005 Oct 18,2010 12:27 AM

    Good information I will try some of it, I’m at the end of my 3rd class, 2 more classes til my bachelors and working full time, been going 3years straight without a break, yea I was probably asking for this but my fear is I would never go back if I stopped, I continue to tough it out! Procrastination is definitely an easy way to add stress to my burnout, and adjusting to having a civilian job. I will try and let u know what happens, but starting working out for 30 min a day seems to help so far!
    My best regards to all!
    K

  7. Reply Clarke Waldron Jul 9,2011 11:56 PM

    What amazed me the most about discovering college burnout was that not only did it exist but that it also is a well-known subject. Yet in my fifty-plus years, I had never heard of it. And this is actually my second encounter with school burnout. Back in 1973, it happened to me in my last year in high school and now again as I reach the end of my schooling at ITT Tech.

    I would have never guessed that this would happen to me because I love school and am a very easy-going kind of guy; I also do well in my classes with only a modicum of effort. I still do not know why this would kick in so severely; but it has both times. I barely graduated high school and now I can barely bring myself to complete my last classes which are so well-keyed to getting a job.

    I did go to a doctor. He did some basic checking, blood & urine tests; nothing unusual to report. He did, very professionally, send me to the psychologist for his take on the situation. Time is running out on me but I will keep at it all as best that I can.

    This is probably a factor in making things worse but I have not told my wife that this is going on… because I don’t want to stress her out. So I get that additional stress.

    My main point is that information about college burnout should be made available as required instruction for all entering college students. Had I not explained my situation to a very knowledgeable instructor at ITT, I would still be in the dark about what was happening; assured that such a thing was happening only to me.

  8. Reply Marissa Sep 13,2011 2:06 PM

    Helping yourself isn’t easy with college burnout when you don’t have the money to start hobbies and go out with friends more. not all of us are blessed enough to receive the financial aid they need so we have to work to make a living and that means less time for studying, relaxing. How about some realistic tips for those of us that can’t afford a break yet?

  9. Reply Anonymous 3rd Year Oct 24,2011 12:56 AM

    Hi, I am currently in my junior year of college and definitely suffering from burnout to at least some extent. At first, I thought I was just being really lazy because I noticed that my initial motivation at the start of the school diminished quickly. But now I think it’s burnout. Unfortunately I feel like it’s all my fault and the fact that I am now cutting back on my load is a sign of weakness & incompetence. I also feel like I’m a quitter. I know I’m not & I’m just re-evaluating my limits & my priorities…. but I still feel bad that “I can’t do it all.”

    Junior year is the year where you have to prepare for everything as well as DO everthing– start preparing for grad school or an internship or a job or the PeaceCorps/Americorps/TFA etc. You have to prepare for any post-grad path you might take. Junior year you have to challenge yourself more than you already are because that’s what grad schools examine the most. And don’t even get me started about leadership positions in your extracurriculars. On top of everthing else.

    I must say that for me… this is like high school all over again. 3rd year burnout. I thought I would be able to avoid it. But here I am again.

  10. Reply Tom Gifford Mar 28,2012 5:27 PM

    I am a 28 year old community college student who has a severe case of burnout, and is really not able to do much about it due to circumstances involving a conservatorship.

    I’ve been experiencing ongoing and worsening burnout for upwards of five years now, and its starting to take a severe toll on me. I have developed chronic depression, bipolar disorder, OCD, high blood pressure, and gained more than 30 pounds, all because of it. I am also nearing the age where I am possibly developing heart disease.

    My advice to everyone: If you’re burning out, get the hell out of college. FAST. It will destroy you if left unchecked. Look what it did to me: I’m just a shell now.

  11. Reply Sam May 3,2012 12:40 PM

    To be honest, I feel the biggest reason why myself (and others) experience a burnout is because of how classes are designed and taught. The semester system is designed to be a grind: research papers, homework, quizzes, multiple midterms, finals, etc. If classes were taught without such an emphasis on all this extracurricular work, I would have loved my time in college. The best classes I ever took were ones which the teacher engaged open discussion, and wanted us to leave the class having learned a few things, but at the same time, didn’t overwhelm the crap out of us! Human Sexuality class: sure, we went through boring lecture slides for the first half of class, but the second half of class was dedicated to group activities, and other things which helped to expand out understanding of sexuality.

    If I knew I loved all these classes before I became a science major, I probably would have switch to something else. Biology, Chem, Physics classes are the WORST when it comes to grinds and boringness!

  12. Reply Marcus Sep 21,2013 5:33 AM

    I’m recovering from burnout at the moment. This is the third time I have had it in 2 years. The first time I didn’t even know. That was when I was working full time and studying two subjects part time. I love the IT subjects and suddenly I just stopped studying, thinking to myself that I was lazy. I did recover and did ok in my exams but could have done better.
    The second time, i was studying full time and I suffered repetitive strain injury in my hand all the way up to my shoulder. I dropped 3 out of the 4 subjects I wa studying. I had to stop. I was so disappointed in myself.
    The third time I thought I was aware, so I studied only 5 days a week full time with weekends off to prevent burnout. It hit me suddenly again on a Monday morning with more RSI. Immediately I stopped studying for one week with lots of sleep.
    I think I need another week and will build up my study again slowly but carefully.
    I’m learning the signs of study burnout from experience.
    I’m 41 and never knew of such a condition.

Leave a Reply