By Nadia Paschal
As the semester is coming to a close, the days are getting shorter, the weather is colder and the work is piling up. It’s clear that the energy on campus has shifted as students have hit a wall and their motivation is dwindling.
Over the past few weeks, I have also been feeling less driven and incredibly burnt out. I spend much of my free time trying to wind down with friends, but our conversations often drift back to how stressed we have all felt during the week and all of the assignments we have to complete. I leave these interactions conflicted, as on one hand I feel it was a nice break and provided a sense of relief. However, I know that I still have numerous essays, projects and tests to study for as soon as I return home.
A study conducted at Ohio State University by the Chief Wellness Officer showed a large number of students were struggling and becoming increasingly stressed. In April 2021, 71% of students who were surveyed screened positive for burnout, 28.3% for depression and 42.6% for anxiety.
Sophomore Briana Aguilar reported feeling an overall sense of exhaustion and struggle trying to juggle her day-to-day activities and coursework.
Aguilar said on her body’s response to the change, and how she feels ready for bed earlier than usual. “I think it’s a combination of everything. It definitely has to do with there not being much daylight,”
Having experienced a similar feeling in the past, Aguilar shared what helped her beat the winter blues and how she’s managing this experience again.
“Definitely having really great friends to help motivate me,” she said. She also explained that doing homework or studying in a group helped her to stay on track.
Aguilar shared that finding a healthy balance in her schedule was vital in reducing the effects of burnout.
“Not doing everything all at once, but starting things earlier and making sure that I have time to relax as well,” Aguilar said.
Although it seems that many students are in the same boat, some have managed to push through and stay consistent in their work, even now. Natalie Maier, a nursing major, shared that although she does feel tired, she is not completely burnt out.
“It’s more just being tired of having to do the work and just wanting to push through to get to the holiday season,” Maier said.
Being in the nursing program can take up a lot of a student’s time and energy, but Maier shared that her clinicals occurred earlier in the semester, which gives her more free time as of late.
“It kind of gives me a chance to not have to think about work,” Maier said.
Maier said that she completes all of her work at the beginning of the week, so she can have Thursday and Friday off and enjoy that time to herself.
Working out, talking to friends and family, and going for drives are some simple yet effective techniques that Maier shared to help her with avoiding getting burnt out.
Exercise has played a large part in helping my own mental health, even if it’s just getting outside for a short walk. In the past, I would attend some of the fitness classes that were happening on campus. Whether it was yoga or kickboxing, it felt cathartic and helped elevate my mood.
Another resource the campus offers that I as well as many other students turn toward for comfort is the counseling center. Although it can take a while to be seen, it is worth the wait. Personally, being able to see a counselor on campus has helped me to manage any stress that I’ve experienced over the past few years.
However, students do have mixed feelings about the amount of support they receive from the school. Marissa Perry, a senior hospitality major, said she doesn’t feel a lot of support, especially in regard to online classes. Although they are convenient for her, she said, “It’s harder to build a connection with [professors].”
Perry also said that she should look for more resources and support on campus, but that the school could be promoting them more.
“Even putting it out on social media, cause they are very active on there,” Perry said that the self-care events that are hosted around midterms and finals help her, but that more could be done throughout the semester.
With Thanksgiving break so close, it’s important to take that time to get rest and recharge before making the final push of the semester. Whether you spend that time with family, continuing to catch up on homework, or just doing nothing, know your limits and what helps you to manage stress. Keep in mind that no matter your year or major, you are not the only one facing this issue, and there is always support you can turn to.