How to Prevent College Burnout

By Ella Malmgren

With the spring semester beginning, many seniors at The University of Tampa are already combatting their much dreaded burnout. Not only are they feeling the pressure of making plans for after they graduate, but they also have to complete their senior projects and portfolios, which are extremely time consuming and stressful.

College burnout is exhausting, and can happen to students at any point in their college experience, but is most common with seniors. Burnout can cause resentment towards what students are studying, which causes them to question their career goals and abilities.

To deal with college burnout, Southern New Hampshire University suggests to stay engaged, develop good study habits and learn to say “no” when you feel too stretched between commitments. These are all things that we know as students, but when mental exhaustion takes over it’s hard to have the energy to stay engaged. Staying concentrated is easier said than done.

However, it is very important to say “no” when you’re feeling overwhelmed with work. This can mean going out less on the weekends, but it can also mean quitting a job or club position if it’s draining on your mental health and taking a lot of time away from school.

At the same time, it’s important to stay connected with a good group of friends that will motivate you in school and sympathize with your burnout. If you’re experiencing poor mental health, reaching out to a counselor or therapist is also suggested. 

Burnout is a tough problem to solve because the curriculum requires students in their last semester to show what they’ve learned throughout college, which I agree with. But the timing of these projects aligns poorly with the other obligations and the added pressure placed on seniors.

“Burnout definitely happened for me,” said Morgan Finger, who graduated from UT in 2021. “My senior year was the worst because I felt so much pressure from not just school but also from the outside world… pressure I put on myself is really what burnt me out. Of course all of that combined with school work was just insane for me. But once I walked across the stage it was worth it.”

In a survey of 23 UT students, 65.2 percent said they had experienced college burnout. Although there are tips that individual students can use, this is obviously a widespread issue at UT that needs to be addressed by the school.

To combat this issue, I believe that UT should require a one-credit stress management class for seniors in their last semester. This will provide students with resources that will help them navigate their schoolwork alongside their other commitments, as well as deal with the fear of the outside world after they graduate. It also can serve as a mental health check-in every week, and provide students with another person they can talk to about their stress. 

College burnout is an unfortunately common experience that almost every student experiences before they graduate. With the spring semester starting, it’s an especially important time for UT to address these concerns, and acknowledge students’ mental health. 

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