Ways to Prevent Burnout During College Prep

Ways to Prevent Burnout During College Prep

BostonBurnout is a stress-related state of exhaustion that frequently leads to feelings of isolation, low productivity levels and even depression. This feeling can also affect students, especially college students, who often do not know how to juggle the good, bad and ugly of pursuing higher education.

But no one talks about the burnout that comes along with preparing for college. The act of getting ready for your life to change in so many ways can be scary and stressful. 

It is common for incoming freshmen to feel immediate intense pressure and prioritize hustling to get ahead before thinking about settling into the adjustment. You can either do too much at once to prepare or let the pressure overwhelm you and cause you to shut down completely. Either way, that is burnout taking its course.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you start preparing for college.

Reflect on your why.

The most effective way to prevent burnout is to ensure you understand why you are attending college in the first place. Develop your internal motivation by identifying the skills you need to learn and the experiences you want to have during your college experience. 

Setting goals can help you remain focused and organized, keeping your stress levels at an all-time low. Your time will be spent wisely working toward things you want to accomplish rather than constantly spiraling.

Review coursework ahead of time. 

Managing your responsibilities is an important part of avoiding burnout. If the thought of completing assignments that require more of you than you are used to makes you nervous, use your syllabi and other resources to get a complete picture of the projects you have and their deadlines. 

To-do lists, calendars, personal deadlines and a plethora of free apps can help you stay on track with your work. Take the time this summer to experiment and develop a system that works for you.

Focus on what makes you whole. 

Since burnout is related to stress, it is important to take care of yourself. Exercise, proper nutrition, hydration, social interaction and quality sleep are each part of a productive coping strategy. 

Taking breaks allows you to refocus on your overall goals, boost your creativity and can contribute to success in multiple areas in your life, especially in your academics. People who exhibit warning signs should pause, reconsider their mental health and make changes to their routines to prioritize their wellbeing.

Once the semester begins, you can incorporate breaks into your routine to help you stay balanced.

Don’t forget about fun and self-care.

Academics are a big part of college, but they aren't the only part. Packing every waking hour with schoolwork is a surefire way to burn out before the end of the semester. 

Setting aside work to make time for fun has always been a true method to help students to prevent burnout, but enjoying yourself as you prepare for college holds just as much importance. The power of social engagement can bring life to a dark place, and incoming students should give themselves plenty of time to adjust to everything college has to offer by prioritizing hobbies, activities and exploring personal interests outside of the classroom.

Lean on your support system.

Don’t forget about your support system. Most college students experience burnout, so learning how to ask for help – during high stress levels and before it gets to that point – is essential. That can mean leaning on friends experiencing similar challenges or turning to family. It is often also possible to lighten your workload by requesting extensions from professors. 

Research your college's mental health resources accessible to you as a student, including counseling services. Talking to a licensed mental health professional can help students improve their stress management skills and learn how to cope before burnout occurs.

If you are in need of support, check out The Youth Mental Health Project for resources.

Trinity Alicia (she/her/hers) is a Boston-based journalist. Follow her on Twitter: @trinityaliciaa

Edited by Nykeya Woods

Support the Next Generation of Content Creators
Invest in the diverse voices that will shape and lead the future of journalism and art.
donate now
Support the Next Generation of Content Creators
Invest in the diverse voices that will shape and lead the future of journalism and art.
donate now