OPINION: Battling mid-semester burnout

Price Wilborn, Commentary writer

If you’re like me, you’ve already been fighting mid-semester burnout. I want to tell you that it’s okay! Many others are experiencing mid-semester burnout, too. It’s normal to feel stressed, tired and ready for a break.

In an email with Dr. Karl Laves, associate director of WKU counseling center, he compared burnout to halftime, stating that it “appeals intuitively to students; why wouldn’t someone be burned out at mid-term? Football teams and basketball teams have halftime, right?”

Laves goes on to state that because mid-semester burnout is “a multi-variate phenomenon that means many things to many different people,” people experience distress differently. Everyone has different abilities to handle everything going on at the time. Students have their own experiences and reasons as to why they are here, which causes them to handle stress in totally different ways. 

It’s natural to feel tired at this point in the semester. You’ve been working hard to make sure you pass your midterms. Some of you reading this have already taken your midterms while others are still waiting to take theirs. 

Since I’ve been in college, I’ve been stressed in a way I never thought possible. Some days are worse than others, but it’s constantly there. I asked Dr. Laves what he thought were some good things to do when one is feeling mid-semester burnout. He gave me seven ideas:

Plan ahead, do work every day, take time to “goof off,” eat healthy and exercise, be patient because “you can and will adapt to the higher level of work [compared to high school],” watch for times when you may have multiple assignments due at the same time and don’t procrastinate.

Each of these things will not only relieve some of your stress, but it will make you feel better, too. Being able to balance your work and play is something that I’ve learned that one has to be able to do. You can’t “goof off” all day every day, but you also can’t not play either.

I’ve learned, though, that getting out of your dorm room, whether it’s to study or go to a club meeting, is important.  Just get out of there. I’ve spent several days in my room just studying and thinking, and it does absolutely nothing for me to destress. In fact, it only adds to it. I’ve made it a point to get active in organizations that I want to be a part of, and that’s helped me more than I ever could have imagined.

Burnout shows that you care about your education and your future. You want to do well in your classes. You have a desire to learn as much as you can to make yourself as prepared as possible to succeed later in life.

You are on your own journey that’s different from everyone else here on campus. Your class load is different from your roommate’s. The extracurriculars that you’re involved in aren’t the same as the person sitting next to you in class. Your tomorrow is going to be something totally different than today, and there’s nothing you can do about it. You can decide, though, how you’re going to deal with it.

You’re doing the best you can, and that’s all you can do. That’s okay. You’ve got this, you’re awesome and I’m proud of you. Take a deep breath and relax, you’ve earned it.

Commentary writer Price Wilborn can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @pricewilborn.