Features, The QH
It is that time of the year again. Exams, assignments, and deadlines are taking over our lives. No matter how much you discipline yourself to start early in order to get a head start, it’s just not going to happen. It always seems like there’s enough time, enough time to make one more assignment, do those extra articles. But suddenly there’s less than 24 hours left and a mountain of work. As time passes on and the threat of missing the deadline becomes more possible, you ask yourself ‘How did things get this bad and how can I do well?’
As you go over the paper you have spread out, you find that the answer is right in front of you. Your study plan was too ambitious, your design too grand, your workload simply too much and your time too little. We all want to outperform standards, leave our professors in awe and feel like we accomplished something we hadn’t imagined possible just months ago. Yet, we risk trapping ourselves.
There are several risks within that trap. We risk our own physical health and sanity. Burnout is very common for students that want to outdo themselves. According to Dr. Sherrie Bourg Carter of Psychology Today, Burnout is a chronic state of stress. But Burnout does not happen overnight. It will sneak up on you. “Because high-achievers are often so passionate about what they do, they tend to ignore the fact that they’re working exceptionally long hours, taking on exceedingly heavy workloads, and putting enormous pressure on themselves to excel—all of which make them ripe for burnout.”
Burnout can leave you with chronic fatigue, insomnia, forgetfulness and impaired concentration, increased illness, loss of appetite and anxiety. In short, it will not allow you to get anything done. Since you’re in a constant state of stress, it’s as if you’re standing in deep, heavy mud. In the meantime, the lists of tasks are piling up, but you cannot move forward. You are stuck in this mud. How can you compete with yourself to do well if your mental well-being is at stake? If you have no way out of this mud?
The solution is simple, keep calm and reprogram yourself. Yes, you want to do well, but you also don’t want to hurt yourself. Baby steps go a long way. When I compete with myself in doing well as a student, I keep my fitness journey in the back of my mind. I have recently lost almost four stones. This did not happen overnight. It took me over a year. When I first stepped onto a treadmill, I was able to run for 5 minutes. Now I run 45 minutes. But it took me a year to make this improvement. Studying and completing assignments are no different, improvements will come slow but gradually. According to Psychology Today, it’s important to discover your own “program” and what works for you. It is better to take on less work and do well than to take on a mountain and overwhelm yourself.