Augustana Observer

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Augustana Observer

College extracurriculars are burnout palooza

Jessica Ramirez

If I had one piece of advice to give the students on campus, it would be to fill your free time with things you enjoy. This can include a sport, a club or even joining Greek Life. But as a person who is a part of all of those extracurriculars, there is one fault with that piece of advice.

Burnout. A common stressor of the college student. 

If you are lucky and have not experienced this phenomenon or are not sure where it comes from, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” 

Burnout can happen when your brain is on overdrive due to many different stressors in your life, which can happen with time commitment issues or overworking ourselves.

Certain aspects of student life do a lot for the person. Student life can help with networking in the community, meeting people from different parts of campus. It could also grow your love for the activity you’re involved in, even gaining leadership skills. Personally, from my experience on many executive boards on campus, I have learned what it is like to be a leader and help organize meetings and projects. 

Now, while that is one positive aspect of being involved in extracurriculars, burnout is very, very real. Burnout can feel like a high at first, a sense of accomplishment and pride in what you are doing. Then, it can shift into working endlessly, and the next thing you know, you are balancing schoolwork and your extracurriculars off the top of your head, hoping not to let anyone down. The last step is when the stress turns to avoidance and demotivation. 

I’m involved in many extracurriculars on campus, including Greek life, culture houses, UNYK Multicultural Dance Troupe and choir, and I would never say that I regret my decision to be a busy person. However, becoming so absorbed in the activity that your free time vanishes is where the line should be drawn. First semester of this year, I was overwhelmed with the amount of executive board work I was doing, plus the other clubs and organizations and my academics. It’s a tough line to draw, but it has to be drawn somehow. 

That’s when I decided to step down from certain positions for my mental health and academic standing. 

The common student, extracurriculars or not, aren’t immune to burnout, but the extracurriculars are a large contributor. However, there are solutions. These solutions aren’t from a professional, but from me, an amateur with a doctorate in nothing: 

  1. Take a step back and breathe. You run the activities; the activities should never run you. If you need to drop an unnecessary one or one that causes the most stress, please consider doing that. At the least, minimize time with groups you need to.
  2. Recognize your priorities. Not to sound like a parent, but there is a reason that we are at this school. If your extracurricular activities get in the way of your academic success, not only does that bring down your GPA, but you won’t be able to be in the extracurricular activity anyway. 
  3. Finally, love yourself. The fear of missing out or the fear of people depending on you isn’t more important than your mental health. There are only so many things that we can do. 

The moral is to be a part of student life, but make sure it’s giving you happiness, not stress. We already have enough stress in our lives due to our academics, what’s the point of adding more?

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    LApr 21, 2024 at 2:59 pm


    Awesome article