Thursday, December 1, 2022

A Little Break Won’t Hurt

by Joellie Belle Badon | December 10, 2021

Most of us were likely asked when we were children, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and many of us appear to have thought about it since we were young. Alongside this superfluous questioning, we were told that we would have to put in a lot of effort to succeed.

We were taught that anxiety and worry are natural components of life at school. Of course, it’s natural to feel nervous about exams, presentations, and résumé fillers. However, the strain we place on ourselves due to societal pressure is partially to blame for our anxiety. 

We should not be too harsh on ourselves, and we should not feel obligated to do what pleases the other. We should be able to do this to give satisfaction to ourselves. Straining ourselves would leave us with little energy to perform what we should be doing in our lives.

Most of us experience stereotyping from when we were younger. We were divided into groups in elementary school, from placing kindergarteners in academically or intellectually gifted programs to mandating some of us to take as many advanced placement classes as possible. You may either be a “talented” student or not, and many of us spend years trying to fit our interests into these categories. And if you’re “gifted,” you’ll probably spend the rest of your life dealing with the pressure; many people who aren’t in that group break their backs trying to show they belong there.

As college students, especially in an online setup, many of us still feel the repercussions of this way of thinking. We rush from one assignment to the next, doing everything we can to achieve our objectives. We must complete our tasks: write essays, draw, and study for upcoming tests to get good grades at the end of the semester.

Even during weekends which is supposedly a day of rest and spending time with family and friends, we can’t even let go of our papers, pen, and keyboard. Our face somewhat cemented to the monitor screens; eyes with little movement; right hand fixed on top of the mouse scrolling through piling documents that needed to be finished before the deadline while the listening to that clicking sound of the keyboard; blank papers on top of the table are waiting to be filled with lines and shapes; and a ton of transcripts piling up waiting for the words to be highlighted.

As one of the persons in this situation, I explored and established some to-dos to deal with this academic burnout that I aim to follow:

  1. Make time for fun activities not just on the weekend. Fill your schedule with things you like doing throughout the week, and you’ll be more motivated to start your school days.
  2. Make time for social activities. Not only will friends and family provide us with a solid support system, but spending time in pleasurable social settings will definitely make you happy and what we surely need to give our minds a break. I make an effort to contact some of my friends, even if it’s simply over online chat.
  3. Set sensible objectives and stick to them. Use a calendar and regular reminders to stay motivated to fulfill deadlines. This has been part of my daily reminder — keeping track of what has to be done so that I don’t miss any deadlines. I make a mental note of what I intend to do.
  4. Improve your time management: This is a vital component in ensuring that you meet deadlines, avoid procrastination, and end up with a more enjoyable relationship with your studies.
  5. School-life balance: School-life balance is equally crucial for us students. School is important, but we shouldn’t forget to set a time to lay low.

In addition to the set of to-dos, we should also have time to enjoy our vacations:

  1. If feasible, take a proper break from work and school on weekends.
  2. Attempt to modify the schedule to get at least one day off every week.
  3. Try to take vacations or staycations to relax your head during school holidays.

I agree with the above numerous tips for combating academic stress or burnout — even if they are only a few of the to-dos on my list. I live by the adage, “Live your life like a butterfly, take a break now and then, but never forget to fly.” Being ambitious and active is good, but ignoring to care for oneself is not. Because we are focused on the future, we don’t even think about or live in the present. Hence, like a butterfly, we should conduct our lives, flying about and resting on a flower before flying again to another, which suggests we should never lose sight of our goal: to soar to greater heights.

Before making the necessary changes, we must take a step back and examine everything in our lives that may contribute to our academic burnout. In God’s time, we can achieve what we aim to be. So take it slow, enjoy the moment, and don’t be too hard on yourself. You don’t need productivity if you’re burned out and struggling. Allowing yourself a break is sometimes just what you need. You deserve it. A little break won’t hurt. 

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