Student Blog: A College-Girl's Guide to Surviving Finals-Month Burnout

They say that when it rains, it pours...if that's the case, finals week is another April shower.

Student Blog: A College-Girl's Guide to Surviving Finals-Month Burnout
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Ah, college burnout.

It’s a topic I reflected on in my first article, and an exhaustion I can’t seem to escape this semester. It seems that I only leave the house to go to work or a study spot these days, so I’m always working, even when I’m off the clock.

True, the blue skies and sunny days that we’ve had here in Florida have given me a much-needed motivation boost, but I’m human too, and some days I just wish I could curl up in my bed and watch One Tree Hill all day.

As the regular workload lightens, and the finals load begins, I’ve gotten creative when it comes to finding motivation. I can’t take all the credit for this, the bustling landscape of Orlando lends itself to unexpected study spots, but I hope to provide some inspiration for that last push to get through the semester.

Student Blog: A College-Girl's Guide to Surviving Finals-Month Burnout

Towards the end of 2023 I grew so tired of the college workload that I grew tired of college itself, and I ended up taking a fully online schedule this semester. This has provided me with a flexible schedule with room to have experiences that I never would have thought possible at this stage in life. However, it was only when I made a trip to my school campus last week (for the second time all semester) that I realized how much I miss the college student life.

Giving myself some physical distance from campus-which I craved after two years of living in student housing-was exactly what I needed to gain some perspective. This period in my life is not permanent, it’s rapidly approaching its close, and I want to soak up all of it. So, I decided to spend a few hours studying in the library, in a nice spot by the window. This reconnection with campus was exactly the reality check that I had needed; it reminded me that while the good parts of college are not going to be permanent, the workload won’t be permanent either. Every assignment has a due date, so while each individual deadline feels like a weight on my shoulders, it is a weight that has an end in sight.

Student Blog: A College-Girl's Guide to Surviving Finals-Month Burnout

I’ve always been someone who operated with the clock, who rounds the timing of everything up to the nearest interval of 5; I’ve recently realized that doing this is a waste of 4 perfectly good minutes. Obvious a realization as this may seem, rounding the time had always seemed so much neater than operating on a more flexible schedule.

I feel so much more relaxed when I’m not constantly setting deadlines for myself, “I’ll do this at 3:35, I’ll make lunch at 3:40, I’ll get the laundry out at 3:45…” Giving myself permission to detach from the minute hand has also opened space in my mind to fill the days, rather than panicking about how much time I have in between two activities (which is a common struggle among people with ADHD).

For example, I went to see one of my favorite films, Spider-Man, at the movie theater this week. I had planned to do homework in the morning, but found the day slipping away from me, and it was 3 pm before I knew it. Normally, I’d force myself to stay in my apartment until the homework was done, leave too close to the movie’s start time, and walk in a few minutes late. Instead, I decided to throw my laptop in my bag and take it with me. I arrived with 3 hours to spare before the film’s start time, and since the film was at the movie theater in Disney Springs (I am once again casually dropping the Orlando local life into this article), I set up shop at a table by the water and wrote my essay. I finished it in no time, with a nice view, and was able to get some fresh air rather than being cooped up in my apartment.

Student Blog: A College-Girl's Guide to Surviving Finals-Month Burnout

The point of this story isn’t to share the perks of living in Orlando; it’s to point out that there are creative ways to combine your plans for the day and be more productive. If I had gone to another movie theater nearby, I could have sat at one of the outside tables at a coffee shop; there are plenty of spots if you look for them.

So yes, I did experience a lot of burnout this semester, but I also learned how to listen to myself. I found new ways to work around the mental barriers I had built, and realized how much I do enjoy college life. In short, sometimes it takes a little burnout to find new motivation.


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