How to Overcome Burnout as a Student

As the semester is coming to an end, I’ve been looking back on the progress I’ve made. For example, there were times when I didn’t have motivation or I was left feeling “stuck” by the overwhelming responsibilities I had to do. That’s why I’m wanting to let you know that it’s okay – it’s okay to have burnout, but the main focus is learning to survive it and overcome it so that you can move forward.

Take it one day at a time

The main problem that led to my burnout was the fact that I piled up duties, responsibilities, and jobs that I had to do at all once instead of breaking it up into sections; or, in this case, to manage them one day at a time. When I took my schedule or responsibilities day by day, it eased the stress that I had placed on myself and allowed me more freedom to work on the activities I do instead of dreading them. Definitely go on easy on yourself, because in the end, you might rush past your responsibilities instead of giving it your all.

Set realistic goals for yourself

What I learned for myself is that it’s helpful to set realistic goals for the day. For example, most of my classes are asynchronous, which some of you might relate to. Some of my professors assign the week’s assignments on Monday. When my professors do this, the overachiever in me wants to do everything in a day, so I can have the rest of the week to do what I want/need. But with this goal, I placed a lot of pressure on myself, and that forced me to not want to do anything, which is the opposite of what I had planned. Instead, I set a limited (realistic) number of assignments that I could finish in a day, and so far, that’s been working out the best. Setting mini goals each day can help motivate you and keep you on track for doing the tasks that need to be done.

Taking some time off

If you’re experiencing burnout, then that’s probably a sign that you should take some time off. By this, I mean to take a break from what you need to do and just be with yourself for a little. When I realized that I was burning out, of course I wanted to keep on going because, if I didn’t, I knew I would potentially be behind on everything. What I didn’t know is that, if I didn’t take a break, I would be left with even more work, which wouldn’t help me at all. When I took the break I needed, I felt more refreshed, relaxed, and renewed. I had more energy to focus on the work I needed to do. I definitely suggest taking breaks for yourself when you need it, as it helps to prevent the burnout of doing nothing.

Motivate yourself

This last tip of mine is so important, as it is the fuel of your work ethic, studying, tasks, and everything else. When I was going through my burnout, after taking a break and focusing on myself, I reminded myself of my long-term goals and motivations that inspire me. For example, what got me through my burnout was thinking ahead to fall break and how the end of the semester would be coming up. I kept thinking of all the activities I would do during break and the progress I’ve made with my classes, which gave me motivation to keep working hard. Motivating yourself is the hardest struggle to overcome, but when you do motivate yourself, it pays off in the end.

Final words

Burnout happens, and it’s a struggle that everyone goes through at sometime in their lives. Learning how to cope with it and move forward is one of the greatest achievements, especially during the time we live in. Reward yourself for overcoming burnout, or if you’re just starting to battle through it, still reward yourself for working through it!

Overcoming burnout is hard, especially in times such as living through a pandemic, but just know that it’s normal! With that being said, I hope my advice and experience helps you with overcoming your burnout.



Class of 2024
Hi everyone! I am currently studying in the Division of General Studies. I am from Niles, Illinois, a northwest suburb of Chicago, and I am an only child. This means that I will be the first and only one in my family to attend UIUC, so I plan to bring you with me along the way! I hope to share my experiences and provide helpful advice and info about student and campus life here at UIUC for prospective students and others.

Add comment