Written by: Brooke Dalton
Spring is in the air, and thank goodness. The promise of a semester ending and a mental break is so enticing that it’s hard to stay focused some days. But what about summer school?
What if you want to get ahead in your degree, or try to finish early, or avoid a heavier year next year? How do you balance being a full-time student in the summer, or taking a class and working full-time? How do you avoid burnout?
I think the main thing to do to avoid burnout is really making sure you get a rest. Between the last exam you write and the start of classes, it’s important to take a break. Even if you’re working, allow yourself to become a lil’potato on the couch for a day if that’s what you need to do to decompress. Or see some friends, or get outside! I know when I get outside my mood immediately lifts. No matter what the activity, make sure it is something refreshing for you!
Once classes start again, I think the best way to avoid burnout—especially with classes happening so quickly—is organization. And I know this may sound like a clichéd anecdote given by every professor or teacher ever, but it’s true. Actually scheduling time to get work done can be extremely helpful especially when balancing work and school. Then you can also allow yourself time to relax because you’ve given yourself time to get your work done.
Give yourself a break. It’s not going to do anyone any good (but mostly you) if you don’t allow yourself to have any fun this summer, or relax. Sometimes you just need to lay in the sun or go out for drinks on a patio, and don’t let the guilt get to you. You know what kind of guilt I’m talking about? The kind felt by a “good student” when they decide to “take a night off” or have fun when they have work to do. Listen, tell that guilt to go away! You need to take breaks and allow yourself to have fun. If you really are a good student, you will have already scheduled time to get everything done. Obsessing and obsessing will only wear you down.
So let yourself be human, not a student robot. Work hard and play hard—well, maybe not—but work hard, and let yourself enjoy life too, because burnout is not going to help you now or in the fall when you are going back to school or looking for work. Don’t let summer burn you out, you burn it out!
This post was originally written for and published in The Artichoke magazine.