College can be fun but also completely overwhelming. With a brand new course load and much more work than you have ever had up to this point in your life, it's too easy to burnout during freshman year. That's why we're here to help! Here are six ways to help keep you from burning out this year, with advice from college students just for you.
1. Prioritize and Organize
Seeing what needs to get done gives you more of an initiative to start working. I have a sticker on my door that acts as a dry erase board. Every month I color code and chronologically order what I have to do. I give the more serious obligations one color and the pleasure events another. This way I notice how much I have going on in a small time frame and am able to adjust my schedule if need be. You have to prepare yourself by organizing your time and prioritizing your school responsibilities over your personal affairs. The more thrilling recreations can be done after.
“ Tidying up your room everyday helps a lot. That way the mess doesn't build up and you can focus on other tasks.”
- E. Blumenfield, Sophomore, CCSU
2. Do Something Fun
Speaking of the more thrilling activities, this is where they come in. If you’re the type of person who already organizes every second of your day, this tip is especially for you. (If you’re the procrastinator type then this is for when it’s time to reward yourself a break!) After putting yourself through days of binge-working you need to relax your mind, after all it is a muscle-like organ that needs to be as equally relaxed as it is used. Maybe attend an event on campus or go into town with some friends. I like to Skype my friends from home who are dorming in other states to catch up with them. Just do whatever it is that will give you a break from your hectic schedule that you enjoy doing!
"One of the things that I like to do to keep myself from burning out is finding a place on or off campus where I can just relax and breathe. It becomes a sort of oasis for me to just reset my body and mind."
- K. Minden, Senior, Messiah College
3. Know Your Limits
Just like everyday life, college is about balance! And you know yourself better than anyone. So it is up to you to make decisions that benefit your health, and as a result, your overall performance. Maybe that means cutting back on extracurriulars for a week or two. I usually help my friends edit their papers, but the requests can sometimes come at a busy time for me, so I have to unfortunately tell them no. Maybe you know you’re capable of putting in more effort, so you decide to go to extra office hours with your professor or a second work shift. You have to be responsible for yourself when it comes to both pushing yourself and knowing when to take it down a notch. This is the area where most students, myself included, struggle, which leads up to them burning out. So learn the signs of when you’ve had enough and listen to them!
4. Try Something New
Take a different route to your classes. Take on a new hobby or learn a new skill in your spare time. Sit in a different seat in class that’s been empty all semester. Maybe even use that gym in the center of campus that you’ve been avoiding. Remember how excited and energized you were during syllabus week? For me, my choice to start writing for Fresh U may be a bit more work, but I look forward to writing new content because it’s something I haven’t ever done before! By switching some aspects of your life around you’ll get the feel that you’re starting over and all of those positive emotions you had will come back and help you from burning out.
5. Shut Down
Part of the problem with getting assignments done is that many of us get distracted with social media. Or maybe you don’t scroll as much as others, but stream for hours instead (I’m looking at you Netflix and Hulu bingers!). Your eyes start to burn, your head hurts and you’ve lost hours of sleep. By shutting down your social media sites, and even your devices, you allow yourself to cool down. While writing this article I stayed away from social media and only looked at my phone if I received a text. So if you need to compromise on the shutting down deal like me, that’s OK, but work up to a complete shut down for really important assignments like studying for midterms and finals!
6. Adjust Your Goals
Sometimes what we planned to do is not what is best for us. Maybe you need to take more than four years to graduate because of financial troubles or you need to take less credits in a semester. I’m considering doing a certificate of completion instead of a subject minor because it will help get my foot in the door while still in school because I’ll have job credentials. Talk with your advisor about your choices and see what works for you, then discuss it with your parents/legal guardians once you also have a professional opinion on top of yours. (But remember tip #3!)
“(Medical) students need to take time to look at what is realistically possible versus what they would want in an ideal situation.”
- Albert Einstein College of Medicine
At the end of the day, do what works best for you and never forget to love yourself!
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