College students live very busy lives. A lot of students have 2 or more jobs, are a part of clubs, in relationships, and in classes all while not even going back to their dorm until midnight because they’re so busy. Busy gets old very quickly; students run 100 miles an hour until they become fatigued and burnt out.
College is overwhelming when you don’t have balance. You can only go so fast for so long. ACU and every university needs to become more aware of the pandemic of burnout amongst their students, faculty, and staff. Today’s world is very fast paced and it’s up to us as college students to be the change and show our peers how to slow down.
In an article published by bestcolleges.com they defined college burnout as, “an extended period of extreme fatigue and apathy that often results in a decline in academic performance. In college, burnout can be triggered by a variety of factors, but it’s most often caused by overwhelming work demands and prolonged levels of intense stress.” I can personally relate to this definition as myself and several of my friends have experienced an immense amount of stress since coming to college.
Change is very difficult and a lot of change happens in college which can lead to anxiety and unhealthy living. It’s taken me personally almost two years of college to learn how to slow down and deal with my stress. I’m still learning how to live a balanced life.
Healthline.com recently published an article titled, ‘College Students Increasingly Report High Levels of Anxiety and Burnout During the Pandemic,’ they talked to the chief and wellness officer of Ohio State University, Bernadette Melnyk. She stated that in August 2020 about 40 percent of students were facing burnout while 71 percent were facing burnout in April 2021.
If universities like Ohio State with a student population of nearly 47 thousand students discover that 71 percent of their students are facing burnout then it’s likely that ACU students are struggling with the same things.
An opposition to burn out is that it’s the students’ fault for taking on so much responsibility or the more common stereotype that our generation is ‘too lazy’. While the first statement may be true it can also leave the student feeling isolated in the responsibility they’ve taken on and left feeling hopeless that the weight on their shoulders will be lifted. The second part of that statement is far from the truth.
Our generation is not lazy. While our world is very fast and good at a variety of things, one area we’ve gotten worse at is rest and relaxation. The average college student takes 15 hours of classes a week with up to 30 hours of outside work while only getting an average of six hours of sleep each night. A lack of sleep and an immense amount of work drains college students.
The bottom line is that burnout is preventable. Learning to say no to opportunities that don’t excite you is a key to a healthy college life. Decisions will come your way but it’s up to us as students to make time for ourselves so that we may be a light to those around us. There are a few simple ways to prevent burnout: recognize your fatigue, get seven hours of sleep everyday, talk to the people you know are in your corner, and lastly, eat healthy and exercise.
ACU struggles to show students how to slow down. People place their identities in many things; club, work, major, etc. but what if the faculty and staff of ACU showed students how to take care of their mental health? ACU can better prevent student burnout by providing free mental health screenings (which schools like UCLA, Drexel, and others do), campus wide courses, programs, or initiatives, or implementing well-being practices into coursework like mindful breathing.
If ACU takes these simple steps, you would see a renewal of the students on campus.