I remember hearing the horror stories told by my older brother about “Hell Week.”  He would come home after finals and melt into a frustrated puddle of angst, and exhaustion.  “Hell Week” is a term college students use to describe both the week before finals and the week during finals.  These two final weeks of the semester, stress is so thick in the air you could cut it with a knife.  In these last two weeks students are transformed into academic zombies.  It is easy to spot these academic Zombies because there is a blank stare inhabiting their eyes, they have the trade mark cup of coffee and dark circles to match their uncombed hair and “relaxed” attire.  These students are victims of burnout.  Burnout is a work related disorder and for these college students, is caused by their work over load.

The burnout disorder is accompanied by a long, unfortunate list of undesirable symptoms including: disinterest, exhaustion, detachment, boredom and irritability.  In Krystal D’Costas article, Why aren’t we talking about burnouts?, details the effects and causes of the burnout disorder. In the text she defines the three kinds of burnout that can be experienced. The Frenetic type, is a kind of burnout who will continue to work in the search for success and jeopardize personal relationships and their own heath to achieve their goal.  There is the under challenged type that just can’t bring themselves to produce any excitement.  Their monotonous condition will develop, and with time, these individuals will become disinterested and indifferent.  The final type is the Work out type, this kind of burnout will submit to their stressful environment and give up, sometimes completely neglecting the necessary tasks.

The text goes on to say how applying definitions to the different types of burnouts allows for more than just the subjects symptoms to be represented.  The text also goes on to explain how the business world, if it continues to overload employees, will eventually normalizing burnout.  As a college student, it is very apparent when the institution is overloading its students. This overload results in burnout.  The article outlines the importance of creating distance between the individual and their work, and goes on to say that this lack of distance will create stress and inevitable symptoms of burnout.


2 thoughts on “Burnouts

  1. As a physician, we talk all the time about the dangers of burnout. It’s not only harmful to the person who is exhibiting the burnout behavior but it is also harmful for patients. I’ve felt it myself personally during my training and that’s when I knew I needed to take a step back, talk to my peers, take vacation or ask for help. There’s no doubt that college is a stressful time and the coursework will continue to be demanding. I think giving students the tools to cope with burnout will be even more important than cutting back on workload. Many colleges offer free counseling and wellness activities (yoga, movie nights) during these stressful times.

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