Someone once told me, “Life doesn’t stop when you’re getting your degree.”
I’ve reflected on this statement often while wading through my own college experience, and it’s come back to me again and again while working with students.
In my role as a College of Western Idaho (CWI) Tutor, I have the amazing opportunity to help and get to know a lot of students. The more students I work with, the more convinced I am that college is a big balancing act.
Students will tell me all the things they are trying to juggle simultaneously: schoolwork, a job, commitments to family and friends, and much more. Some even say that making time to sleep and eat are among the more difficult things to fit into their schedule.
I hear students say things like, “I’m just so burnt out,” or “I can’t wait for this semester to be over.” And I understand what they mean–being in college while managing life can be a lot to handle.
Some well-managed stress can be a good thing to help us continue to grow. But when can stress in life become unhealthy and begin to inhibit our ability to reach our academic goals?
So What is Burnout?
According to the American Psychology Association(APA), burnout is not a medically diagnosable condition, but rather is described as a form of “exhaustion”. The APA defines burnout as:
“Physical, emotional, or mental exhaustion accompanied by decreased motivation, lowered performance, and negative attitudes toward oneself and others.”
Where does burnout come from?
The APA says this about what causes burnout:
“[Burnout] results from performing at a high level until stress and tension, especially from extreme and prolonged physical or mental exertion or an overburdening workload, take their toll.”
What are signs of burnout?
BestColleges.com outlines some possible signs of academic burnout, though burnout can come from several different stressors (work, school, and other responsibilities):
- Lost of interest in social and extracurricular activities
- Grades suffering and having trouble meeting deadlines
- Feeling a lack of motivation to carry out everyday tasks
- Lost of enjoyment in your daily activities
- Feeling more lonely than usual
- Increasingly irritable
Tips on overcoming burnout
Exhaustion from trying to do it all can lead to a diminished feeling of joy or meaning in what you do every day. Here are some helpful tips for beating burnout and getting back to feeling your best:
Turning inward and remaining isolated in your struggles can make burnout worse. Consider connecting with mental health professionals, booking an appointment with a tutor, or talking to your advisor.
CWI doesn’t want you to go this alone. There are many resources available that can assist you and make your college experience a success.
Connect with your peers
Making friends in college can make all the difference. Whether it's making a friend in one of your classes, or meeting fellow students at a CWI event, peer friendships help remind you that you’re not alone.
In my experience, creating study groups with fellow students helps students perform better in their classes, and it creates a sense of accountability to each other.
Making some rules around when you’ll work and when you’ll take a break is an important life skill, and college is a great time to practice.
Get specific on when you’ll do school work, when you’ll dedicate time to your job, and when you’ll spend time with family, friends, and other obligations. I’ve seen that people who honor and take care of the boundaries they’ve set find that their boundaries end up taking care of them.
Commit to self-care
It’s easy to be so focused on academic and career goals that we forget to find joy in the moment. So make sure to take regular breaks! It will help reinvigorate you and keep you feeling your best.
But what are some ideas for self-care?
- Getting enough sleep
- Eating healthy
- Spending time with friends or family
- Enjoying a hobby
- Learning a new skill
CWI is here to help!
CWI is committed to seeing you succeed, despite the many demands on your time and attention. It’s even in the mission statement:
“College of Western Idaho is committed to empowering students to succeed by providing affordable and accessible education to advance the local and global workforce.”
Below are CWI student resources that are designed to lighten your load and help you—so you don’t have to navigate the challenges of college alone:
CWI Counseling and Wellness Services
Counseling and Wellness Services believes mental health and wellness are critical to student learning, persistence, retention and personal development. They support student mental health and wellness through direct counseling services, community referrals, consultation, and educational programming.
CWI Tutoring Services
CWI Tutoring Services exist to empower students to master course content and succeed in their classes. The tutoring they provide complements classroom instruction in individualized and group sessions to help students achieve their academic goals. Their support is free to all currently enrolled students, faculty, and staff.
CWI Writing Center, housed within CWI Tutoring Services, is a place where students can get help with academic, professional, and creative writing.
College can be confusing, but Student Success Advisors are here to help. When you need help or have a question, you can turn to your advisor to get help with:
- Degree Planning
- Career or Major Exploration
- Major Changes
- Transfer Options
- Campus Resources
One Stop Student Services
One Stop Student Services is your student information and service hub. The One Stop can help you with questions regarding admissions, financial aid, registration and records. The team can also answer payment questions, collect payments, take vouchers, and more.
Many other resources!
Here’s a list of other resources available to CWI students:
- CWI Bookstore
- Career Information
- Center for New Directions
- Computer / Technical Help
- Cyber Defense Center
- Disability Services
- International Services
- Latinx Student Services
- Testing Services
- Veterans and Military Family Services
Don’t give up
More likely than not, you’ll face burnout at some point in your college experience or career.
Don’t be ashamed of getting help when you need it. In fact, the most successful people I know are the biggest advocates for connecting and seeking help from others. No great accomplishment is done alone!