For around 2 years, I was suffering from an academic burn-out without even realising it. That was a real shame because, at times, I thought that something might have been wrong with me since I felt ‘off’. Of course, it is important to tell loved ones about the state of your mental health however, sometimes, the answer is right in front of your face. So let us begin by defining an academic burn-out.
What is an academic burn-out?
Well, an academic burn-out is similar to a real-life burn-out that working people experience. It can have very grave consequences especially when left unchecked. For some students who have been in education their whole lives, there comes a time (especially when they are in the later stages of their education) where they feel depressed or extremely exhausted.
This leads to the students not being able to study consistently for days on end and as a result, the students begin to hit low marks and end up dropping out of university etc. From there, some people might look down on themselves for the rest of their lives by telling themselves that they were not ‘gifted’ or ‘intelligent’ enough to survive in the academic world.
In other scenarios, students in university might begin picking up bad habits like drugs or indulge too much in things which might help them keep the minds of their studying life. Things such as clubbing, parties and an excessive focus on their social lives. This is because students might feel like they are living in prison. After all, they have chosen to pursue further education that might take them many years to master and as a result of the young once overzealous students seem to lose their zeal, motivation and passion as the years pass.
How to get out of an academic burn-out?
The first step (might sound typical but it is true) is to recognise that you are suffering from an academic burn-out. It took me nearly two years to figure out that I had this issue. Once you recognise what the problem is all you need to do is diagnose the illness. The best way to do that is by coming up with a refreshing new strategy or way of doing things.
Your entire study schedule, as well as your entire approach to study, needs to change completely otherwise you will not be able to continue studying. You should come up with a new study plan which is very different from your last one. To do this, I recommend studying the study plans of people who have done well in the world of academia.
I saw a video of someone called Dr K, who would study for only 2 hours early on in the morning, then he ended up graduating with a degree in Medicine. I thought that is the type of study plan that I want to implement into my life. Now I only study for 2 hours every day with the bulk of my studying occurring early on in the morning when my brain is fresh. I also never pass the 2-hour mark and when my timer goes off I walk away.
This new study plan is completely different from my previous, reckless and exhaustive study plan. It is the polar opposite. The second thing to do (which is also important) is to take a break by giving yourself time to breathe. If you have the chance to go on a holiday during the holiday season that would be a good idea. As long as you can take time off so you could step out of the non-stop, fast-paced academic world that would be beneficial for you.
An important thing to remember is that an academic burn-out won’t really disappear over a few weeks or even a few months. There are days that I wake up and end up falling into the same bad habits that I did when I was in suffering from the burn-out. So it’s important to remember that even if you have applied the steps mentioned above, it might still take a long time before you have fully recovered, it is vital not to do anything drastic yet.
If you have tried all of these things, then the last thing left would be to is to consider the big question. Is this (whatever you are studying) what I want to be doing for the rest of my life? You might be suffering from a burn-out because your heart is just not in your current studies anymore. Though it might be a daunting thing to consider what matters most is your future. You don’t want to study something that you hate for the rest of your life. A change of scenery and objective is what you might need.
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