In the best of times, college students can feel overworked. The demands of your class load alone can be taxing, let alone those of you who are involved in athletics, student government, or other extracurriculars. Overworked college students can quickly feel burned out and unmotivated to continue their studies. 

Students who are employed while enrolled in college are at higher risk for burnout syndrome, a reality for overworked college students. The World Health Organization added it to the 11th revision of the International Classification of Disease. The impact of burnout syndrome is both physical and emotional. Fatigue and a generally negative attitude can be tell-tale symptoms of overworked college students on the brink of burnout syndrome. 

UCLA identified 8 signs that you might be an overworked college student.

  1. You can’t pay attention in class.
  2. You don’t have a lunch break.
  3. You can’t remember the last time you were able to relax.
  4. You’re tired.
  5. You can’t sleep.
  6. You don’t have time to finish your homework.
  7. Your performance declines.
  8. Your schedule is relentless.

Some might say this just sounds like college life! It’s important to think in terms of a scale or the degree to which this might be true of you. 

If you like the concept of a scale, rate each of those eight signs on a scale of 1-10 (1 = no impact, 10 = high impact). If you’re giving yourself mostly 7 and above, you are likely an overworked college student.

Then, think about those symptoms in terms of degrees. In other words, how much is it impacting your daily wellbeing? You can also use the 1-10 scale (1 = poor, 10 = thriving) to evaluate each of these eight areas of wellbeing: 

  1. Physical
  2. Environmental
  3. Social 
  4. Emotional
  5. Spiritual
  6. Financial
  7. Educational 
  8. Occupational

If you are ranking your wellbeing below 5 in all of these categories, you are also showing signs of being an overworked college student.

What can you do if you are feeling signs of burnout syndrome? 

Seek help. Find a professional counselor who can provide you with tools to recover. Likely things like rest, journaling, mediating, and other stress reduction practices will be recommended. A trained counselor can hold you accountable, provide a listening ear, and support you while you seek better balance. 

Say no. One of the common problems for overworked college students is saying yes to too many things. While some things are not within your control, like homework, athletic practices, or employment, say no to the things that keep you overly busy. This might include hard choices about social invitations, club involvement, or even family requests for time. 

Get some sleep. Aim for 7 hours of sleep each night and make it a non-negotiable. To do this, you might have to do both of the other two things recommended above first, seeking help and saying no more often. Once you are supported and less busy, sleep will come easier. An overworked college student’s recovery depends on it. 

This current school year has presented more challenges than ever before, leading to a high probability of overworked college students experiencing burnout syndrome. Be aware of the eight signs of burnout syndrome and seek to proactively address them before they take a bigger toll on your wellbeing.