Burnout makes learning feel impossible

Burnout makes learning feel impossible


The COVID-19 pandemic is going into year three, and many students and faculty have been learning and teaching remotely the whole time. This has led some to feel the effects of burnout. (Photo Illustration by Heather Amberson)

The COVID-19 pandemic is now going into year three, and it has taken a lot out of everyone. It has taken many things from us. It has impacted our physical health and our mental health as well.

Everyone has been negatively affected by the pandemic in one way or another, and it has changed us forever. 

For me, I have started to feel the fatigue of online learning a lot more in the last few semesters.

Burnout, which many students and faculty are dealing with, makes doing even the most minuscule tasks seem almost impossible, so maybe we should all take it easy on each other as we fight to overcome this sensation of a never-ending pandemic that makes all of our futures seem unclear.

If you need a day off, take it. Unless there is a strict deadline, you need to meet, it is ok to take a day off from working on things and take some time for yourself. Everyone is always worrying about how much there is to get done, and sometimes we neglect ourselves and don’t listen to what our bodies are trying to tell us. 

Students who have been in school throughout the pandemic have dealt with learning from their homes. This makes the learning process much more difficult for some students. 

The pandemic seems like it is never-ending and that causes a lot of stress for people. For students who don’t know how they will be learning from semester to semester, it can be exhausting. 

According to a study by TimelyMD, 70% of college students say the COVID-19 pandemic is causing more anxiety and stress than before. Also, 88% of students think there is a mental health crisis at colleges. 

And students aren’t the only ones facing these burnout issues. Faculty and staff are feeling some of the same effects as students, and sometimes even more. 

According to the 2021 state of the U.S. teacher survey, a much higher portion of teachers reported frequent stress due to their job and symptoms of depression than other adults in different professions. Health and uncertain teaching conditions were the highest stressors. 

If students and staff are all facing burnout, the level of production and the learning experience overall goes way down. This can lead to even more burnout because it is even harder to find joy or excitement in this pandemic environment. 

At the beginning of the pandemic, online learning was difficult to adjust to, but I soon found a groove and got used to it. With online learning still around over two years later, that has started to change. 

Last semester was probably one of the worst semesters of my life, and I just had to fight through it and continue to get work done because I didn’t have any other choice. 

Not long before last semester started, my grandmother died from cancer and because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we weren’t allowed to see her in the hospital, so I never had the chance to say goodbye until after she had already died. 

There were many other things that happened as well and everything just seemed to pile on. 

During the month of October, I was in the emergency room one day the first week and then back at the hospital every week after to get bloodwork done because I had increased liver enzymes and the doctors didn’t know what was causing it. 

All of the things that happened last semester made the burnout significantly worse. 

Since then, it has been a struggle to get motivated to get up and get everything done on time. The motivation that was there before and in the beginning of the pandemic is slowly fading every semester we continue to be online. 

I am a strongly motivated person most of the time and try to always do the best I can on everything I do. Now, it’s starting to turn into me barely getting things done or waiting until the very last moment to do something.  

Learning from home is very difficult because there can be a lot of challenges. Some students live with parents and siblings who might also be home at the same time, which can be distracting. 

Another thing that is difficult about learning at home is that everything else instantly becomes more fun than doing work.

Have a TV show you were on the fence about watching? It’s better than doing work. Video games you never play or a book you aren’t that interested in reading? That’s better than doing work too. Being in the same place as your bed? Yeah, that work can wait until after I take a nap. 

All of these things and more make it very easy to put off work, and when you aren’t properly motivated, they are a death blow to your chances of getting quality work done on time.