By Madelyn Alexander, Editor in chief
When I imagine myself being burnt out, it’s usually the end of a semester or after I have completed a huge project. So why now, in the fifth week of classes, am I feeling that all-too-familiar weight on my shoulders?
After putting a lot of thought into the matter, I realized that this is my fourth year of college. Not only that, but it is my 16th consecutive year of being a student. Personally, I think it is miraculous that anyone would choose to be a student for this long.
If you’re like me, you put yourself through hell to be a “good student.” You strived for good grades, you aimed to be involved in as much as possible and maybe you got a job at some point just to wrap up those scarce evenings you had even a few hours of free time.
Thank God academic success isn’t my single goal in life anymore.
Don’t get me wrong, school is still very important to me. I just don’t feel like my life will be over if I ger a C on an assignment. This is the luxury of not considering grad school, I guess.
I also believe I have reached the mindset of valuing involvement over grades. I would rather have the memories that come with that kind of experience than the highest GPA an employer has ever seen.
That does, of course, come with its own set of problems.
This year, I bear more responsibility than I ever have due to my involvement. I love it all, but it was definitely a shock to the system coming back from summer with more on my plate than previous years. I am ending my college experience with a bang, that’s for sure.
As much as I feel the weight of this year, however, I know I will be devastated to see it end. Every time I open the link to my graduation application or the form to order my cap and gown, I feel so conflicted.
I know that finishing the application will take some the pressure away, and being a college graduate will take much of my stress away. But I also feel a deep sadness at the thought of not being around UM anymore.
I have spent the past four years trying to make the most of the good, the bad and the ugly. From being academically focused to participating in as much as possible, I still can’t help but feel like my time here shouldn’t be coming to an end this soon.
Maybe COVID-19 is to blame for that. Maybe it’s just my fears of the future talking. Regardless, I know that I need to make the most of the time I have left, and that will require me to push through my early-onset burnout.
If you have ever tried to work through a period of burnout, then you know how hard it is.
I think the key to beating my “senior-itis” will be dedicating some time to the things I enjoy, rather than just to those things I have to do.
Recently I requested a day off work simply to try to recover from the way I was feeling. I did nothing that I didn’t want to do that day, and it left me feeling significantly better.
Now, is that something I want to make a habit of? Of course not. But if it will keep me from being unable to function because of my frustrations, better safe than sorry.
Madelyn Alexander is the Editor in chief for The Alabamian. She is a senior art major with a minor in multimedia journalism. Her hobbies include ceramics, reading and collecting plants.