Academic Burnout from A to Z

College years are usually portrayed as a stunning and transformative experience filled with personal and professional growth, dozens of exciting opportunities, new friendships, and plenty of other ingredients.

Nonetheless, the truth is that the demands that college and university students encounter, combined with tons of personal issues and social responsibilities, can lead to something known as academic or student burnout. Doesn’t sound good and can actually become serious trouble. Keep on reading to learn more.

What Is Academic Burnout?

Academic burnout is a state of chronic emotional and physical exhaustion that leaves undergrads drained and totally exhausted. According to the reps of the World Health Organization, burnout is a so-called “occupational phenomenon.” Nonetheless, college and university students also face the issue known as academic burnout.

Academic burnout symptoms differ from person to person; however, most people stuck in it feel kind of cynical and worn-out when it comes to the college routine. At some point, they find themselves unmotivated to attend classes. They choose the reps of professional writing services to accomplish their essays and feel their creativity and academic performance levels going down.

Academic Burnout Symptoms

Academic burnout can take different forms. Taking into account all the causes of academic stress and peculiarities of student’s psyche, there are the most common signs of college burnout that the majority of undergrads tend to have. If you recognize any other signs mentioned below, make sure to switch to a supportive academic environment and take essential steps to boost your mental health. The key warning symptoms of college burnout are mentioned below:

  • Feeling exhausted. Both physical and mental exhaustion are the main signs of chronic stress.
  • High anxiety level. If you notice a growing sense of agitation, worry, and anxiety, you are most likely facing academic burnout. Restlessness can be part of the process, too.
  • Lack of enthusiasm about college. Are you worried about the next in-turn exam? Are you dreading classes without any particular reason? Do you feel like you have zero interest in college classes?
  • Physical signs. If you experience headaches, fatigue, or discomfort in your stomach while being healthy, chances are college burnout is about to enter your routine.
  • Low academic progress. Many college and university students feel drained due to the enormous stress they face in class. Lower grades and a general decline in college progress are some of the main symptoms of burnout.
  • Angry and irritated. For many students, feelings of annoyance and irritability are among the main signs of burnout. As a result, these feelings turn into anger and total frustration.

There are more symptoms of academic burnout out there, yet we mentioned the most common ones.

Burnout Impact on Mental and Physical Health

A state of chronic physical and emotional exhaustion and academic burnout can have profound consequences on both the mental and physical well-being of a student. Below, we will see how burnout exerts its toll on both sides of our well-being.

Mental Health Implications

Today’s college and university experience is more challenging and tiring than decades before. Undergrads encounter tons of pressures, such as extracurricular activities, rigorous coursework, social expectations, heartbreaks, and, let’s face it, financial problems. It’s no wonder the mental health impact of burnout can be seen here and there.

  • Anxiety and depression. Burnout in college is directly related to mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Young people find themselves hopeless, overwhelmed, and alienated. As a result, they find it hard to focus on and get engaged in routine activities and maintain healthy relationships with people around them.
  • Academic problems. Burnout can hinder a student’s ability to concentrate, retain, and process information, as well as perform well in class. As a result, college students get stuck in the so-called vicious cycle of increased stress and poor academic progress, exacerbating the well-known burnout.
  • Feeling lonely and isolated. When experiencing burnout, undergrads may avoid social activities in order to stay away from their fellow students. This isolation, in turn, leads to feelings of loneliness and, as a result, problems with mental health.

Physical Health Consequences

The modern college experience is more demanding than ever before. It’s no wonder that in addition to mental health issues, students suffer from physical health problems caused by academic burnout.

  • Weakened immune system. Persistent stress and burnout can make the immune system weak. As a result, college and university students become more susceptible to various illnesses. This can later stand behind a range of problems, such as skipped classes, missed deadlines, diseases, and additional stress.
  • Problems with sleep. Academic burnout usually becomes the main cause of sleep disturbances. Sleep issues like insomnia or disrupted sleep patterns become part of the routine of those who suffer from burnout. The resulting fatigue can then impact your ability to handle the whole scope of personal and college responsibilities.
  • Unhealthy coping mechanisms. In order to somehow combat stress, many college and university students make a decision to turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms. The latter include substance abuse, excessive drinking, or overeating. Needless to say, this kind of thing may cause serious health issues.

How to Avoid Burnout in College

More often than not, college burnout may seem like a huge black hole that you can’t get rid of. However, there is something that you can do to avoid burnout and avoid all the consequences of it.  Below, we’ve listed some of the most effective tricks on how to avoid college burnout.

  • Say NO. A lot of college and university students (well, and career professionals at the beginning of their path) tend to face the intense pressure of academia. You have to handle many assignments at the same time and somehow combine them with the other responsibilities. That’s when you have to learn to say NO. In order to avoid burnout, you have to focus on your tasks and responsibilities first. Do not be the first to take extra classes or volunteer on weekends. You will thank yourself later.
  • Learn to manage your time. Learning to say NO and managing your time wisely is a must. A lot of undergrads tend to take many side hustles, starting from part-time jobs to extracurriculars and some major time-consuming projects. There’s something that you can do here. Make sure to plan! Allow an adequate amount of time for every task on your to-do list, and stay away from procrastinating.
  • Set manageable goals. In order to avoid all sorts of mental and physical health consequences or academic stress, never set unreasonable goals. Getting a new part-time job or signing up for one more class can be a great idea; however, this step can lead to academic burnout sooner or later. Do not even try to overpack your schedule with tons of to-so points. Instead, focus on the goals that you can achieve within a particular deadline.

How to Prevent Academic Burnout: Ask for Help!

A lot of college and university students tend to experience academic burnout. That is why learning to ask for help when in need of it is a must. To prevent burnout in school, college, or university, you can lean on pals who happen to face the same struggles or family members who go through tough times as well.

Do your best to make your workload less challenging. Approach your tutors and professors for assignment extensions and let them know you’re preventing academic burnout the way you can.

Finally, do not hesitate to benefit from on-campus health resources, such as counseling services. In times of need, talking to an expert can help you boost your time-management skills, realize your gaps, as well as come up with your own coping mechanisms for a more effective academic burnout recovery.

How to Recover from Burnout as a Student

The main rule in overcoming academic burnout lies in catching the causes as early as possible, noticing all the symptoms, and taking simple yet effective steps to cope with the current situation. The earlier you start your recovery, the sooner you will find yourself back on track. After all, burnout shouldn’t control your life and become an obstacle on your way to academic success. Here are some time-tested recommendations for recovering from burnout as a college student:

  • Identify the very first signs of burnout and work on that. Is it skipping classes for no particular reason? Or, perhaps you find yourself isolating from the crowd more and more often? All the symptoms should be detected as early as possible.
  • Take regular breaks. Of course, having a break doesn’t mean that you have to relocate yourself to the sofa and literally do nothing. Instead, you can focus on something enjoyable and, if possible, useful for both your body and mind. For instance, you can take a walk in the park, do a home workout, go to the nearest Starbucks for a pumpkin latte, or…do anything that makes you happy.
  • Re-evaluate your goals to see if you’re on the right way to success. Consider things you do and excel in. Make sure to admit that there’s something that you fail and aren’t interested in. Do not hesitate to cross off things that don’t interest you from your daily, weekly, and even annual goals.
  • Cut off stress and make self-care your priority. Keep in mind that while college routine is designed to be tough to help you progress in the chosen field, it also should be a positive and enriching experience. Make sure to practice self-care, and don’t forget that you are important.
  • Find a healthy college-life balance to ensure you have an opportunity to be active in class and social activities as well. It is crucial to have enough time for your favorite hobby, family, friends, and some me-time routine.

College burnout is a common and very serious concern in today’s world. It can have severe and long-lasting effects on your physical and mental health. For that reason, family members, college and university reps, as well as communities, have to recognize the minor (the very first) signs of academic burnout and exert every effort in order to provide necessary support to those who suffer. If people make sure to foster the so-called culture of empathy, understanding, and self-care together, we will create a healthy and more sustainable academic experience for young people.

Newsletter subscription

Sign up to receive FTNnews Newsletter

Subscribe to get the latest travel news by email

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.


Scroll to Top