A whimsical illustration featuring a tin can phone whose string forms the words "Told You So."
Illustration by Sam Cochran ’24 (he/him)

The burnout is real. Most days I don’t feel like doing anything at all, much less writing essays, doing final group projects and assignments, and still showing up to class. Any advice on making it through the end of the semester?

-Perpetually Tired

Honestly, same. But what am I good for if I can’t give you some help? So let’s begin! I’m going to start out simple: try to figure out what is causing the burnout. Sometimes it goes deeper than work. Are you feeling a lack of motivation because you are looking forward to summer break? Is your friend group stressing you out in ways that are contributing to a decreased interest towards school? Are you just tired of the monotony of the school work? 

Once you determine where this problem is rooted, you can begin to nip it in the bud. If the issues are stemming from one of the problems listed above, then sometimes throwing yourself into your work and really grinding hard can be the solution. Even though you are at the end of your rope, working hard and getting that grade can be the most satisfying feeling on the planet. With school work, sometimes it is a give and take relationship. If you want to  receive the feelings associated with a good grade, you have to work towards it first. 

Let’s say that you are just done with school work. (I have never related to a sentence more.) Sometimes you have to backtrack far enough to pinpoint why you are doing this work in the first place. When I am stuck, I like to think of what my initial motives were, and that makes the work seem more purposeful and less taxing. So think to yourself: why are you here? To get your dream job? To further your education? Because your parents told you either go to college or be disowned? That last one may just apply to me! Regardless of what the reason is, dreams or obligation, you must seek out little bits of incentive here and there. 

If you can’t find it within yourself, you can sometimes rely on other people to pull you through a rough patch. One way to do this is to think about how much time and effort your professors put into designing each lecture. They have so many students, but they spend hours making presentations and coming up with meaningful assignments to better your knowledge and understanding of the material. If you don’t show up to class and put in effort, they see that and could feel like their work is wasted and unappreciated. Thinking about that could spark a bit of drive!

Another way to go about it is to implement means of moderation within your work. Find something you like to do and intersperse it throughout your work so that it seems more valuable. While yes, this is a method used on dogs…it works for people too! (I think…) Anyway, if you really enjoy watching The Great British Baking Show, because let’s be real, who doesn’t, then for each half an hour of work you do, watch a bit of TV.

In high school, my Mandarin teacher would always tell us that the only way to effectively study is to work in short increments. It helps with memory retention, focus, and relieves people of burnout. Did I take that advice? No. I crammed, got burned out, and it reflected in my AP exam scores. The point is that if you spread out your work, it’ll seem like you’re doing less because you are allowing yourself to have gaps in the middle that will improve your concentration and results! 

There are so many different ways to pull motivation from your surroundings. Remember that it does not always come from yourself, and that is perfectly fine. Searching for different modes of drive allows you to understand yourself better. Maybe that means engaging in extroverted activities, and when you need alone time, rely on that time to work, or find a space that imposes peer pressure to study, like Wall or Libs! Finding that light at the end of the tunnel is beneficial in so many ways. It will always be shining; all you have to do is keep reaching for it. 

Always here to answer your pressing queries.

Yours truly, 

Told You So.