Burnouts are, unfortunately, an inevitable part of life and also a general indication that you need a break. Such was the case with me this semester, when BU decided to cancel spring break. As I predicted, it did not stop students from traveling, but instead made so many of them weary, and in it, halted their academic progress.
The week leading up to when spring break would have normally been, my roommate had an anxiety attack about her biology exam. I just need a break, she said. I thought I would be fine, because I have a much easier major. I thought I would be fine, because I am not used to working at my full potential in my classes. I thought I would be fine, because I knew I had friends I could always rely on. I was not fine at all.
I started exercising, drinking more water and getting 8 hours of sleep every night. I tried to watch what I ate, took breaks when I felt like I needed them and did not procrastinate with my work. I had just gotten a job, I made time to hang out with my boyfriend and friends, and I had my sorority sisters for support any time I needed it. I was on top of everything and my life seemed perfect.
The week of our wellness day, which was supposed to be very relaxing for me, I woke up late. My roommate brought pastries for breakfast, and we watched a show together. Everything was going well, except I seemed to have had trouble moving from the chair I sat down earlier. My classes came and went, and I was still sitting there, feeling incredibly physically and emotionally tired. At some point I gathered the strength to relocate to my room and onto my bed. “It’s fine, everything is fine,” I kept saying to myself.
And then I started crying. Out of nowhere, tears streamed down my face and I could not stop. Not after an hour, two, three. I ended up crying myself to bed that night even though everything seemed to be working out perfectly. Then what was it?
I just felt like I needed a break, and I could not believe that my university had consciously made the decision to make me, my roommate, and my other fellow students burn out like this. I knew I was definitely not alone in this, and that every BU student has experienced it one semester or the other (or maybe every one). Of course, I have heard about it before - but I never knew how badly it hurt. I am still struggling with burnout to this day, and I often find myself making excuses for not doing my work.
Please, take care of yourself. I know it is especially hard at a school like BU, but NO EDUCATION will ever be worth it, no matter how much you pay for it. I want you to know that you’re allowed to take as many breaks as you need and to reach out to your professors when you feel like it is too hard to go on. They understand. We understand. We are all in this together, and these times call for extra self-care. If you are reading this, go take a bath right now. Read a book. Watch a movie with a friend. Bake. Go exercise - whatever makes you forget about things for a while. Please know that there is nothing more important than how you feel right now. That one failed class will not define you as a person, and not making it a priority is totally acceptable if it eases the stress.