Attention: College Burnouts

Is it time to take a break yet?

Madison Feltman, News Editor

According to the University of North Dakota’s Spring 2018 American College Health Association

National College Health Assessment II, stress and anxiety are the number one and two impediments to students academic success. This was defined as receiving a lower grade on an exam, or an important project, received an incomplete or dropped the course; or experienced a significant disruption in thesis, dissertation, research or practicum work. Students are beginning to feel the pressure boil over as they are at a constant war with themselves trying to balance school, family, friends and in some cases work, all while trying to create a road map for the rest of their lives.

Mental health issues are on the rise, especially among college students. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 30 percent of college students reported that stress had negatively affected their academic performance, 40 percent stated anxiety as the top presenting concern among college students and 85 percent of college students reported that they had felt overwhelmed by everything they had to do at some point within the past year.

“With the constant pressure of school, I am so stressed about having good grades and being a part of extracurriculars,” Taylor Mortimer, a UND Junior, said. “With the stress of school consuming my day, I don’t have time any time to do things for myself that would help to lessen my stress.”  

As students are becoming more and more overwhelmed with academic expectations, it leads to what is known as ‘academic burnout.’ This can be defined as a state of chronic stress that leads to physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism and detachment, feeling of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment. Once you have found yourself within a full-fledged burnout, you are no longer able to effectively manage professional and academic tasks. On the lighter side, burnout has a slow start, as it begins with warning signs such as stress and anxiety, which can be easily prevented with help and awareness.

“The first step is separating out how much of stress is actual stress, instead of the pressure around individuals,” Jodi Ramberg, UND staff counselor and substance abuse coordinator, said. “Pressure is the ways in which people talk to themselves, the ways we think about it, it all adds to the pressure which makes the stress bigger.”

Once stress and anxiety has been recognized, we must learn how to better manage our stress and prevent stress.

“How we talk to ourselves is a big part of stress,” Ramberg said. “We also need to remain balanced in our lifestyles, such as how we eat and how we sleep, stress is harder to manage when we aren’t taking care of ourselves.”

We can also take advantage of services provided to help better manage the stress. UND has an on-site, free and confidential counseling center which provides one-on-one appointments with a counselor as well as other resources such as ‘Stress and Anxiety Workshops.’ The workshops are offered in condensed single sessions or a four-session series that focus on learning about stress and anxiety and how it affects you and what you can about. You will also learn key strategies as to how to work through thoughts, how your body responds to stress physiologically, and creating a healthy lifestyle. Single sessions are provided twice a month and the four-session series begins Tuesday Oct 30, all of which take place in Memorial Union, Alumni Room 216.