What It's Like To Burn Out In College

What It's Like To Burn Out In College

Reigniting your flame.

What does it mean to burn out? Burning out is a term used to explain a period of time where an individual is exhausted and loses motivation for their job, schooling, and other activities. I didn’t think that such a thing could affect me, but it did. I was naïve, I took a plate that was too full, too heavy, for me to handle. I took on school, the honors program, writing, working 24+ hours a week, and still managed to have a social life. But for what?

Earlier this week I noticed that I was more overwhelmed than usual. I have an anxiety disorder so I initially dismissed my symptoms as that, but I was wrong. I was panicky, nauseous, exhausted and felt extremely depressed. So depressed and unmotivated that I didn’t care to do my work or watch TV or do anything for that matter. I wanted to lay in bed and be untouched. I felt horrible, more horrible than I had ever felt before and for the first time in my life, I asked for help. I sent my advisor at school an email. She agreed to meet with me and I carried on the rest of the week as best as I could.

When I met with my advisor she had me explain to her how I was feeling. I told her I was unmotivated, that I was angry and irritable and I told her I was exhausted. Beyond exhausted. She looked at me and I could tell that she was concerned. I continued to talk to her about my week until she eventually looked at me and said, “Well, of course you feel this way, you’re burning out.”

When she said that I swear I felt like my heart had stopped. When I think of someone burning out I think of a middle aged man or woman who has worked at the same job for years. Most of these thoughts are based on the countless movies I’ve watched, but still, I never associate burning out with a freshman in college. It felt kind of bad to hear her say that. I felt as if I was doing something wrong because in my opinion, I wasn’t doing too much in my life. In fact, I thought I wasn’t doing enough.

My advisor quickly explained that it’s normal to burn out, no matter what age you’re at and the more I look into it, the more I realize she’s right. Burning out is fine. You have so much going on in your life and it’s normal to be exhausted. Most importantly, it’s okay to be exhausted. I know that they say that life will stop for no one but if you need a break, take it. At the end of the day, your health is the most important thing and you cannot succeed if you’re physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. Burning out is a horrible feeling to endure, so if you feel like life continues to take your breath away, stop and take a breather and reignite your flame.

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5 Actions To Get Unstuck

Getting back to basics.

There are times when the current of life flows gracefully and with direction.

This is not one of those times.

No, this is more like that scene in The Emporers New Groove where the characters are tied to the log being slammed against the rocks in the stream. You’re kind of unglamorously trapped into just going with the flow, taking the hits as they come.


That happens on occasion.

It can be tough to get untangled from those restrictions, especially if they are connected to a list of responsibilities. So instead of just letting life happen to you, go out and try these simple tricks if you are in need of a change of pace.


1. Go try an activity you’ve never done before.

This could be a location you’ve never been to, a class you’ve never taken before, or a skill you’ve never spent time on. This will get your mind focused and productive so the transition back to regular work will be seamless.

2. Talk to a stranger.

Go to a random place and strike up a small conversation with anyone in the area. It could be someone serving you, or someone walking next to you on the street. Either way, you will most likely be stepping out of your comfort zone, which could lead to accomplishment later.

3. Indulge.

Treat yourself to one of those vices that you probably don’t want anyone to know about. It could be anything: from purchasing a favorite food item, to canceling plans you don’t want to attend, to binge-watching Netflix, to going to a bar to drink all night. Doesn’t matter- so long as it’s something you love.

4. Set a goal.

With the arrival of the new year, many people find it exciting to make a list of goals. Your goal doesn’t need to be complicated, but do pick at least one and try to remind yourself to follow it throughout the year. It will be a good focal point for times you lose drive.

5. Take note of the positive.

Even if you’ve been dealt the worst of the worst, you can find something to be thankful for. Is it someone you have in your life? Something you mastered after a few tries? An opportunity you received? A memory you made? This will remind you that part of living a complete life includes good times, and you have been lucky enough to have them.


I know it can be tough to get the ball rolling when you’re stuck, but you got this. Always remember that even the smallest steps will lead to a road well traveled.

If all else fails, plug in your favorite playlist and get lost in the suck for a little. No discomfort ever went less smooth with a little music bumping in the background!

Cover Image Credit: Oscar Keys

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17 Thoughts EVERY Person Has While Sitting In A Dentist's Chair

"Where should my eyes be looking?"

You know what it's like. We've all been there... head tipped back while sitting in a cushiony chair, feet propped up in front of us, mouth stretched wide-open. A million things begin racing through your mind while you are awaiting your fate as you sit in the dentist's chair. It gets even worse when your jaw is set open, metal tools prodding around, and your dental hygienist chooses to ask you questions (that are not rhetorical, may I add) as if you are equipped to carry on a full conversation, right here, right now.

The following are 17 thoughts that every person has while sitting in a dentist's chair.

1. "Where should my eyes be looking?"

2. "Dear Dental Hygienist, I do not know why you keep asking me questions that I cannot simply answer with a yes or no."

3. "My jaw hurts from stretching for so long."

4. "I should probably start flossing more often."

5. "Seriously, where should my eyes be looking?"

6. "Mouths are so gross. I would never want to be a dentist."

7. "Why do I feel the need to swallow when there is literally a tool sucking all my spit out of my mouth currently?"

8. "What is that spit-sucking tool even called?"

9. "My dental hygienist is kinda cute."

10. "Too bad he's probs not thinking the same thing about me while doing the gross job of cleaning my mouth."

11. "Why are they even called 'wisdom teeth' anyways?"

12. "If they are full of wisdom, why would I want to remove them?"

13. "I'm hilarious...if only I could tell the cute dental hygienist my jokes."

14. "The sound of a metal rod picking my teeth is not pleasant."

15. "I cannot understand what the dental hygienist is asking me with all of these loud tools going."

16. "Hey, no cavities. Go me!"

17. "I hope they let me pick my toothbrush this time."

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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