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How to Extinguish End-of-Semester Burnout


Flora M. Brown, Ph.D.
All rights reserved
Copyright 2006

We all look forward to the end of the semester, but few of us are prepared for the burnout that often accompanies it. You’ll recognize burnout as the feelings of helplessness, physical and mental fatigue, and general lack of motivation and enthusiasm.


It can be the feeling that we have put more into something than we receive in return. As the semester draws to a close, many students are overtaken by fears of failing courses in spite of the hours they’ve spent studying. Others harbor doubts that they have mastered their courses and wonder it they’ve only wasted their time. If you recognize yourself in these symptoms, here are six mechanisms for coping with burnout.

1. Admit that you have a problem, but don’t beat yourself up over it. Stress is an inevitable part of leading busy lives of balancing school, family and jobs. Yielding to stress, however, is not necessary. Take this Burnout Inventory to determine your level of stress at http://www.queendom.com/tests/burnout1.h...

2. Take charge of your problem by finding solutions. Seek help on your campus from the health center, wellness center or Women’s Center. There may be counseling, therapy or special seminars. Your health provider may offer help for burnout and stress as well.

3. Face reality and take action. If you are failing a class that offers no makeups or extra credit, consider withdrawing from the class and retaking it later. If the deadline for dropping has passed, it’s time to give your studies every boost available--tutors, study sessions and a private meeting with your instructor for last minute tips and assistance. Complete another burnout test, although addressed to sports players, that applies to all activities at http://www.mindtools.com/burnout.html

4. Seek balance in your life by maintaining social, family, and spiritual activities along with your school work. Regular physical exercise, also, can be more calming than a tranquilizer.

5. Learn relaxation or meditation techniques. There are a number of classes, such as yoga, and audiocassettes that can help in this area. Even just learning to breathe slowly and deeply can bring satisfying stress reduction.

6. Reduce stress by removing the sources of stress wherever possible. Learn to say “no” to people and activities that sap your time and energy without a positive return. Don’t enroll in more units than you can manage, especially if you are working and raising a family. Leave dead-end jobs and relationships that lower self-esteem and lack rewards.

Following these six tips will not prevent burnout, but will extinguish it before it makes ashes of your college endeavors.



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