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Even the burnout has to be burnt out at this point

Sam Johnson

More stories from Sam Johnson

The Tator
December 13, 2022

Photo by submitted

Before our oasis arrives, I have some tips to ensure your summer is as enjoyable as possible.

At this point in the semester, I doubt I’m alone in feeling burnt out and devoid of motivation and energy.

It’s not uncommon for me to take this column — a space to educate and empower my peers — and hog it to whine about something, so regular readers will not be surprised to find little advice this week as I discuss “Blugold burnout.”

I’ve been in college for four years, and have felt burnt out for at least a fourth of that time.

Why does burnout happen? It’s pretty obvious. 

I feel good at the start of every semester, then begin juggling as many as 12 objects — classes, work, family, friends, extracurriculars (no offense Spectator, it’s my favorite object to juggle) — that change weight, shape and size multiple times a week. 

Then midterms roll around and most of them turn into chainsaws.

If you manage to survive midterms, you have a brief pseudo-reprieve before finals time, when the chainsaws get lit on fire.

Summer and winterim are designed to rejuvenate students and provide a break in the action before it’s time to juggle again, but it never really works that way.

Moving, working, interning and extra classes pack those breaks, morphing them into slightly less intense juggling.

Sprinkle a little global pandemic and civil unrest on top of all that, it’s no wonder we’re feeling worn out.

I know, in the real world we don’t get those breaks, but you know what we get in exchange? Stability.

It’s just exhausting to have life-altering change happen so constantly. Change is inevitable, but I think it’s at its most routine and destructive for young adults.

There are ways to combat burnout, of course, but I’ve always struggled with them.

It seems so easy. 

All you have to do is get enough sleep, eat well, exercise, take breaks, have hobbies, go for walks, spend time outside, don’t drink too much, don’t stress about money, don’t be broke, be social, find alone time, seek help, don’t procrastinate, manage your time, read self-help books, stretch, journal, drink water, get blue light glasses and don’t overextend yourself.

If you just do these things, you should be fine.

It’s like you’re on a sinking ship with 20 holes and 17 pieces of Flex Tape. Every time it seems like you have things under control you notice more holes.

The wimpiness of complaining about being in school isn’t lost on me. Getting a chance to better myself through education, networking and friendships is a tremendous opportunity that I’m taking for granted.

People, after all, have it much worse than me. My ancestors were impoverished, fought in wars and suffered a potato famine. Meanwhile, I’m stressed about typing words on a laptop and a little student loan debt.

But you know what? My ancestors can eat my shorts (no offense ancestors, please don’t haunt me). Just because their stuff was harder doesn’t make my stuff easy.

Of course, I’d rather be on campus writing papers and defending myself against Blu than fighting in wars and going hungry, but I’d rather be “chillin’ like a chinchilla” as Dr. Joel Pace, English professor and fedora enthusiast would say, than do either of those things.

Johnson can be reached at [email protected].