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A Guide to Pushing Through the Last Two Weeks of Classes

By Jolie Prins

We are at the point where we only have a few more weeks left in this odd semester. 

Our lives changed utterly last March. Now we are over a year into this pandemic, but everything seems to be getting harder and harder to complete after this so-called year for many students. 

Students all around UT are saying they are just entirely “burnt out.” I mean, I could agree with this myself, UT did take away our spring break for safety reasons, but we all need some sort of break. 

The expectations put upon students have remained the same. At the same time, external stresses about finances, personal safety, the safety of family members, and the inability to go home for a break all came to me, at least, at once.

“The constant and enduring stress of this semester is mind-blowing. I literally am graduating in 2 weeks and have to have my whole life figured out and finish up everything. I cannot get myself to when I am completely burnt out,” said Emily Stevens, senior communications major.

That dread you feel doing schoolwork, the intense effort it takes to do even the smallest of tasks, or the disinterest in things you once cared about, can all be signs of burnout. I for sure am falling under this category this semester; I am mentally exhausted. 

“I hear many parents say to me, I feel bad for you kids. You’re graduating in one of the worst times. I literally sit there and think to myself; this is where I am at, but I wish it wasn’t. I wish I could just take one small break and then continue,” said Alyssa Anicito, senior communications major.

The stress that keeps continuing, whether from getting a vaccine or deciding if you are or just stressed in general, affects many students around the UT community. We are not alone.  

The National Library of Medicine published a study that found that 71 percent of students were experiencing increased anxiety levels as a result of COVID-19.

Suppose the risk of safety to students and their loved ones wasn’t enough. The fact that classes are functioning as per usual, with no exceptions or pity to what is happening, despite the dramatic changes to the learning environment, is enough to challenge even the most intellectual of us. 

What has helped me, as well as my roommate, is creating a list. This list can be in your notes, or on your computer, on your phone, a sticky note, or whatever is easiest for you. Then start with writing down each day what you plan to complete. These are your goals, so once they are finished, checking them off will be rewarding. 

Once you find the right way to personalize this list, you in return have a plan, and you are not just combining everything you have to complete at once, which I am guilty of.

What some students might have been worried about only a year ago, finishing assignments on a Saturday night, affording a Spring Break trip, or choosing a bar to attend on the weekend. They are now replaced by worries about social isolation, family members getting sick and passing away, the responsibility of their classmates.

As dragging COVID-19 along for many, school is the last thing they have the emotional capacity to address. In my opinion, resources from UT about options for mental health should be way more out there. 

Many professors are incredibly understanding, and they certainly are in no easy position with hybrid teaching either. 

However, many professors have yet to adjust their expectations for students, or worse, have increased the workload for their classes to adapt to the new teaching method, and students can’t keep up.

Incorporating pass/fail for these semesters would have eased lots of stress from many students. 

I understand not expecting every professor to change their curriculum is not how education works. By allowing students to take certain classes pass/fail, they won’t have their stress dictated by the grade of a course they may feel they were teaching themselves.

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