Academic Burnout

By Taylor Cayro

Students might be on the verge of experiencing academic burnout from prolonged high levels of stress.

Melissa Jenkins, program manager for Counseling and Psychological Services or CAPS at College of Southern Nevada, said one of the results of academic burnout is stress overload that can cause poor academic performance resulting in reduced motivation and possibly dropping out of school.

Jenkins said there are many signs of academic burnout: low energy, exhaustion, helplessness, feeling overwhelmed, hopelessness, poor sleeping habits and change in appetite.

In a February 2017 study by Statista Inc., a market research company, 65 percent of adult U.S. citizens categorized themselves as being at the start of a burnout situation or felt often run down and drained of physical and emotional energy. In the same survey, it found 30 percent of adult U.S. citizens were working 51-or-more hours per week.

College students are some of the hardest working people out there. At CSN most students juggle school, work and social life.

Maryssa Morgan, CSN student ambassador for recruitment, is currently experiencing academic burnout and said it affects her state of mind and causes her to sometimes feel like she just wants to give up.

“Academic burnout feels like your whole world is caving in,” Morgan said. “I start to resent school and my motivation decreases. Trying to keep up with classes, meet deadlines and expectations each week can be exhausting.”

Morgan’s schedule is filled up with 13-credit hours at CSN and 30-to-40 hours a week of work. She dedicates some of her time after classes and her weekends to family and friends.

One of Morgan’s fellow student ambassadors is Sienna Patino. She described academic burnout as something between exhaustion, hopelessness and even slight depression. “You genuinely want to sometimes just give up and let the negativity consume you.”

Patino is currently enrolled in 13-credit hours at CSN and works 14 hours a week as a student ambassador, working alongside the North Las Vegas campus recruiter Anthony Herrera.

Herrera, in addition to working full-time for the College, is finishing up his master’s in higher education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. When he was an undergraduate, Herrera recalled having academic burnout a couple of semesters. At the time he was trying to balance 15-credit hour terms, part-time work, multiple clubs and organizations at his school and find time for his family.

Herrera described academic burnout as, “Feeling like you have so many things to do and not wanting to do any of it.”

CSN student government Senator Jeffrey Guadron spends a lot of time on North Las Vegas campus. He takes 12-credits per semester plus spends 12-hours a week in his role as senator. “I practically live here,” said Guadron, remarking on how much time he is at school. Additionally he works 12 hours a week at a part-time job and participates in professional video gaming.

Academic burnout is something Guadron experienced in high school when he took five advanced-placement courses to achieve his advanced-honors diploma at Mojave High School.

He learned a good lesson that he now applies during his college years. “It’s important to have balance,” Guadron said.

If these stories sound familiar, then there is comfort in knowing that academic burnout is only temporary and there are some tips on how to survive it.

According to CAPS Program Manager Jenkins, “Take a 15-minute break for every hour of studying or when you feel overwhelmed but don’t take a long break as it may be difficult to get back in the studying frame of mind.”

Jenkins also cited sufficient rest, eating properly, exercising, yoga, meditation and listening to music because they can motivate and calm students and help with reducing stress.

The interviewees had advice of their own to share.

“Have a good support group in your corner to encourage you and keep you focused on your goals,” Morgan said.

“Don’t be afraid to say no,” Herrera said. “You don’t have to feel bad saying no. Prioritize your time, do what is needed and eventually you’ll have time for everything else.”

“Keep an agenda,” Guadron said. “Schedule your week ahead.”

“Don’t give up,” Patino said. “If you made it this far in that class, or those classes, you’ve made progress in your academic career. If you’ve made progress in your academic career, you’re bettering your chances for a future career. If you land your dream job, you’re living happily. It’s not about the destination in your journey; it’s all about getting there.”

Support is available for those experiencing academic burnout at CSN through CAPS. Those needing help can reach out at any of the major campuses by calling NLV campus at (702) 651-4099 or Charleston and Henderson campuses at (702) 651-5518.

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