Making the transition to first year from high school, trying to keep up academically and adjust to the new pace at the same time can be stressful. It’s important not to let this eclipse the rest of your life as it can overwork you, increase stress and lead to burnout.
Burnout is exhaustion — mental, physical and emotional — caused by prolonged stress. It can impact your motivation, your work and your social life, among other things, and make you feel hopeless.
There is so much pressure on us to do well academically, and a lot of it can come from within. It can certainly feel like a bad midterm grade is the end of the world, or a late assignment will prevent you from succeeding in life. Unfortunately, academics are pretty important, and we can’t avoid the pressure. However, a bit of perspective can help. How much will this impact your future marks? What’s the worst-case scenario? What can you do if that comes true? People fail midterms. They fail courses. They may take longer to graduate than planned. All of that is completely okay — your degree is the same whether you graduate in four years or not.
Furthermore, all of the areas of your health interact. When you strain yourself mentally, it can drain you emotionally and physically. For the sake of your well-being, it is crucial to care for every area of your health and to prioritize yourself over your academics. You are a student, but first and foremost you are a person. You deserve to care for yourself and find balance. Take breaks, eat healthy food, rest, socialize, have fun and foster growth beyond your academics. When you find yourself feeling stressed, try arranging a time to do something for yourself, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
I cannot stress enough (no pun intended) the importance of asking for help. Brock has many resources, academic and otherwise, to help when you are feeling overworked. Say no to commitments you don’t think you can handle and ask for extra support from loved ones if you need it. Check in with your professors, teaching assistants, employer et cetera to see what they recommend in terms of balancing your hectic life. It can be scary to meet with personal counsellors or doctors about mental health, but it can be key to maintaining your well-being, whether you have a diagnosed mental illness or not.
Time management skills help prevent stress. If you plan ahead of deadlines and stay on track, you can avoid last minute cramming and at least some of the anxiety of feeling unprepared. This can also help you see which weeks will be heavy in terms of academic pressure and when your social commitments may be more time consuming so that you can plan accordingly and shift your other projects and goals.
You know yourself better than anyone else. It takes time to learn when to listen to your body and strive to give yourself what you need. We eat when we are hungry, sleep when we are tired and see a doctor when we are sick. Being a student should not change this. You deserve to treat yourself with care for your well-being. Only you can know your limits and it is up to you to work within them. Can you write four essays in a week? Maybe. Should you? Probably not.