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Students Studying

The reality behind college life is that it is busy—classes, clubs, social life, and recruiting for off-term and post-graduation jobs can make it so your schedule fills up quickly. This often means that self-care becomes a second thought. First, you stay up late a few nights to catch up on work; once you're caught up, you need some rest, so you take a few rest days from the gym; and once you're rested, you throw yourself right into all your responsibilities and, before you know it, the cycle starts over again with another all-nighter. This is manageable every once in a while but, in the long run, results in a lack of energy and motivation known as "burnout."

This was part of my first-year experience, for sure. And for a while, I thought that's just how college worked—I thought it was supposed to be tiring and that being extremely busy was part of the process. However, with the years I have learned that there are proven ways to make sure you're staying healthy, both physically and mentally, while doing the things you enjoy. So, without further ado, here are some ways to avoid burnout.

Avoid distractions! As a first-year student, I always studied with my friends. It made dull tasks more fun, and made it easier to find the motivation to walk myself to the library. However, I later realized that most of my "study time" was spent socializing, and my work either did not get finished or I didn't focus enough to learn from it. So, I started moving to the quiet parts of the library to finish my work on my own. It's not exactly fun, I'll admit, but it allows me to finish my work faster—which in turn creates more free time for me to hang out with friends. 

Sleep is often the first thing to go when life gets busy. It's easy to stay up an extra hour of two to finish up on some work. However, this means that you'll be drowsy the next day and will need to catch up on sleep! So, it's often better to sleep and do work early in the morning unless absolutely necessary.

Finally, don't spread yourself too thin! It's easy to lose track of how much time you really have and commit to too many things. Dropping clubs or activities can be hard—but, if it means that you'll have more free time to focus on school, your health, and the things you love, it is well worth it.

In the end, finding a schedule that is both manageable and enjoyable means lots of trial and error. The process looks different for everybody, but these three things are what worked best for me and helped me get my feet on the ground after experiencing burn out as a result of a chaotic first-year fall. 

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