The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

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How do we handle a culture of burnout?

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Amanda He / The Bucknellian

To be honest, as I write this, I’m not feeling 100%. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’m a junior and taking the most difficult classes that I have ever taken during my time at Bucknell, perhaps it’s residual stress from the recent campus events or perhaps it’s the fact that I have to balance my academic life with my social life while still getting enough sleep being involved in many clubs on campus while looking for internships and going to the gym and somehow find time to do other things that I enjoy, such as reading, writing and watching TV/movies.

It seems like life would be easier if one of these strands could go away from my life, but they really can’t. Without academics I won’t get a good job, without a social life I would be lonely and without my hobbies I would go insane. Trying to juggle all of these things equally has proven tiring and leads to burnout quite often.

Which is kind of what I’m feeling as I write this article on a Monday night. It seems like there’s always another assignment to do, another event to attend and another internship to apply for, and I know that many students feel this as well. We have to accept that burnout is a reality in our current culture, a culture where 9-to-5s are the norm, side hustles are admired and where you are expected to know what you want to do for the rest of your life by the time you turn eighteen. If you don’t complete any of those benchmarks on time, you are looked down upon even though you shouldn’t be.

With burnout being an inescapable part of our culture now, the question is not how do we avoid it, it’s how do we deal with it. What can we do to look after ourselves when life feels like it’s too much to the point where we don’t feel motivated to do anything? 

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In my experience, one of the most important things that you can do is find some part of each day to dedicate to doing something you enjoy. Whether it’s playing sports, going to the gym or reading a book, finding something that brings you joy each day is vital to dealing with burnout because it rewards you for all the hard work you have done. For example, before I go to bed each night, I set aside ten to twenty minutes to drink some tea and read a book. What started as a simple nighttime routine has quickly become one of my favorite parts of the day since it’s the one of the only times of day when I feel that I have no obligations or commitments with anyone except myself. It’s calming, centering. 

Finding someone to talk to has also been helpful for me. I have been lucky enough to have a supportive network of peers on campus that I can talk to. I have also found that seeing a counselor has helped me a lot with my anxiety, stress and burnout this semester. Even if you don’t think you need counseling, I think it’s still good to speak to a counselor or any other mental health professional to take care of yourself. 

I could go on and on about this, but I feel like I would just burn myself out in the end.

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Aaron Chin
Aaron Chin, Arts & Culture Co-Editor

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