It seemed like 2018 was the year out burnouts. Going online, many of the top social media influencers and Youtubers, like Elle Mills and Alisha Marie, were posting about their burnouts. Maybe they didn't use that word exactly, but rather, taking a break or some time off. These days, going through a burnout is becoming more and more common. We work and work, to the point where we hate whatever it is that we're doing, or we have a breakdown. So how did I manage to get through mine?
This last year, I also hit my breaking point. To give a little backstory, while going to community college, I changed my major many time, which isn't uncommon. Every time I did, I had more and more classes I needed to take to graduate, or that would set me on a good path when I came to a university. I started to feel like I was lagging behind everyone else. I was taking between 12-20 credits per quarter, which for those who don't know, the average college student would take between 12-15 credits. Sometimes I'd have to retake classes when either I didn't pass or dropped them, which in return would stress me out because that would set me back further. I took classes during the summer, hoping it'd catch me back up, which it didn't. Adding on to that, I would work and take part in school clubs and activities, mostly because that was my time away from studying, the time where I could socialize, and unwind.
When it became time to apply to colleges, I had a breakdown. I didn't know what I wanted to major in, I had lost all interest in what I was currently studying. Grade wise, if I'm being honest, I was average, maybe even below, and didn't stand out. I didn't know where I wanted to go, or how I would afford to even attend a university, At the time I was barely passing my current classes. I had been studying for three years at this point, and I still felt I was at square one. I didn't want to transfer into a program that I wasn't interested in. At this point all I wanted to do was graduate. During this time, my anxiety was also at an all-time high.
I took a step back and thought about my options. I could apply to a few places and pray I'd get in, stay at a community college a while longer, take some time off and focus on myself. I decided that I would graduate with a basic Associates degree, and transfer at the start of the new year, rather than in August or September. The hardest part was telling my family because I felt that they had high expectations of me, and by taking a break, I'd be letting them down. After talking to them, I think they understood where I was coming from and supported my decision. My last quarter of community college, I took a class' that seemed interesting, including a photography class, that would reignite my passion for taking photos.
I enjoyed taking a break, granted I didn't stop doing everything I was doing before, I was still working, but focusing more on myself and what made me happier, was a step up. I started talking to my friends and family more about ways to cope with stress and anxiety and started seeing a professional more regularly. In the end, I'm glad I took that time off.
Going back to my original question, how did I manage to get through my burnout. I think by recognizing that I wasn't satisfied with the way my life was going and taking some time to focus on myself. I would look at other people the same age, or younger than I am, and constantly compare how far along they were to where I was. To be honest, it doesn't really matter if they graduated before I did. If I could give tips to anyone, it would be to talk to someone, friend, family member, teacher, or councilor, anyone who will listen. Also, recognizing when it's time to take a break, we can't work or study endlessly forever. These are supposed to be "the best years of our lives", why spend them stressing out? Slow down and take your time.