The spring semester is about to begin at the University of New Mexico and with that, a new set of seniors and another wave of burnout. UNM’s Student Health and Counseling and the Women’s Resource Center came together to give us five tips to prevent and survive senioritis.
“Stress is an inevitable part of college. But it's definitely (on the) high-end your senior year. This is where you are feeling that burnout; you have a lack of motivation. Maybe you're a little bit lazier than you were previously. You can have feelings of hopelessness. You can have thoughts of giving up. You may also feel panic and anxiety and worry as well,” Tiffany Martinez-Durant, education and outreach manager for SHAC, said.
Having a well-structured schedule can often be the main key one needs to alleviate senioritis and burnout. Martinez-Durant is an advocate for scheduling not only responsibilities, but also self-care, into your life. Scheduling can help you organize all academic, extracurricular and professional activities. Knowing what in your to-do list is a priority and what isn’t along with adding timelines can help you complete what you need to do without stressing about when you’ll get it done.
Listen to your body
Senioritis is a type of burnout that students develop after many years of constant stress, according to Traye Holland, the mental health and development specialist at SHAC. With it comes symptoms such as tiredness, lack of motivation, body aches, and feeling more prone to illness. It’s important to watch out for those symptoms and behaviors, as they work as a warning sign that tells you your body is not able to catch up with the demands of exterior factors.
“There's a whole bunch of different things that can come with burnout that you can notice, or even just go through without even really paying attention to. I think human beings struggle with paying attention to their body's needs because they get so into their own heads,” Holland said. “And I think we would benefit so much from just every now and then … just stopping for a moment, and becoming aware of what's around you and how your body feels.”
Have a support system
One of the signs of senioritis and burnout can be self-isolation. This can manifest as not making time for the people who you care about because you feel you need to concentrate on one specific thing. Students can often forget they have people who can be a resource to them and not only a distraction. Making time for others can also be a form of self-care, according to Michael Lovato, a UNM campus advocate at the WRC.
“Making sure you have friends when you are feeling overwhelmed who can help you concentrate again, or a parent or sibling: someone who you can talk to. And someone who can motivate you, someone who can be like, ‘hey, you need to get this done,’” Lovato said.
Remember your goals
After years of hard work to earn your degree, working one or multiple jobs and just dealing with life overall, seniors often forget what their main goal in college is — and also how close they are to the finish line. Holland believes that asking yourself why you even started this journey and why you decided to continue through the hard times can be the last push you need to finish it.
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“And the number one thing is just to make sure you keep your original goal in mind. Just remind yourself what you're here for and what you're doing. I think education is a beautiful thing, and I think college is a great experience and it can be a great launching pad,” Holland said.
Don’t sink into stasis
Finally, burnout isn’t a permanent state that you can't come back from. Holland said it’s good to be aware that you can recover. As a college student, you will make mistakes and experience failure, but they do not have to define your entire college experience.
“(College students’) body and minds are a little bit more resilient. Right? They can recover quicker.” Holland said. “(If) You don't rise to your potential, you fall to your habits.”
Annya Loya is the news editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @annyaloya