Have you reached your limit yet?

13 Jun

In my last week’s blog post  “Burnout Syndrome: A Disease of Modern Societies?” I introduced the topic of the burnout syndrome in general. This time, I want to focus more on what meaning burnout syndrome has for us as college students if there even is one.

I thought about this topic because especially this semester I often got the feeling that I just can’t handle my workload anymore, which was mostly due to the Business Applications class where we were supposed to fulfill several tasks each week. When I talked to my friends they almost felt the same way I did and I was really surprised how they are even able to do all that every week because some of them also work during the week or even on the weekends and on top of that they have their own apartment which means that they also have to handle all household responsibilities and cook for themselves.

Since I still live at home, I don’t have to go working and can pass most of the household work to my mom and still, I thought it was too much. So I asked my friends how they get all the work done and the answers were quite like in the graphic aside. They made restrictions on other parts of their life either that didn’t sleep as much as they would have loved to do or they didn’t do their college work properly and didn’t expect to get a good grade for it or they decided to stay at home during the weekend and didn’t meet friends to get everything done.

 But shouldn’t there also be some time to relax?

In my opinion there definitely should. It is not just about choosing from three different options because life consists of more than that.

An alarming survey

An opinion survey of psychological counselors of student unions in 14 Germen states showed that experts see a clear tendency to a general exhaustion and a mental overload for students partly due to the change to the Bachelor- Master- System.

Although most experts consider the term burnout with skepticism given the differences in symptoms of exhaustions, 61 percent of the consultants see, especially in the last five years, “a significant increase of burnout symptoms in a narrow sense” among students, explained Doreen Liebold from the Chemnitz University of Technology.

Experts have tried identified the cause of this “trend” and concluded that most of it because of the transition to the Bachelor-Master program. The problems are: 

  • increased density of work
  • lack of open spaces, connected with
  • an increased pressure of competition and performance in society as a whole

But the term “burnout” should be used carefully, according to Liebold, it is “not quite appropriate because it is non-specific and still lacks a clear definition” Which is what I also pointed out in my last blog when I talked about the different definitions of burnout and that experts not always have the same opinion on that. Therefore, I agree to Mrs. Liebold when she said that burnout is not really the right word to explain what students nowadays suffer from.

According to the majority of other experts of this survey there are no differences in fields of study concerning the symptoms of a “burnout”. But clearly there are differences between men and women: in the view of most consultants male students mostly refuse to accept help. They have problems particularly with learning and work disruptions. In contrast, female students suffer more from stress and strain associated with psychosomatic complaints and depression.

How to prevent exhaustion

In my opinion, it is true that there is an increased pressure on students but this is also due to changes in the whole world. In our today’s fast moving world also students have keep up with what’s going on. For me personally, I found out that my problem is not exhaustion but just my bad time management and procrastination I always fall for when I’m at home trying to study. To handle this I am now using Asana to exactly write down when I’m going to do which task and I set time limits. So I will hopefully never get in time trouble gain and I can also leave some space for me to relax or to meet friends.

Concerning the problems I had in Business Applications, I tried to follow the advice of Dr. B when he said that we should “break away from what we “normally” would have done and take all of that wonderful energy, bottle it up into a list for next time, and be free to go off to do something else” using the analogy to cookie baking. For me that some great advice because I tent to putting much more effort than necessary into doing things especially in my studies and this helped me to concentrate on the most important things. This might not be helpful for everyone but still in my opinion everyone should at least think about it and consider it when work becomes too much to handle the next time.

5 Responses to “Have you reached your limit yet?”

  1. rosepanama June 18, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    Hi Julia,

    it’s a very well-fitting topic you chose to write about. In my opinion you exactly touched the right target group since most students are complaining about the enormous workload of the Bachelor’s study program. It is also interesting that you make the distinction between men and women. When my workload gets to over-loaded I also feel very stressed out.
    In this context it would have been interesting to hear more about some expert’s opinions. This is what I missed. You talk a lot about your own experiences. You mainly discuss the problems that students are facing with the workload of university. It would have been interesting to know about other affected persons and how they cured their disease.
    I am curious to read your next post!

  2. Nicole June 18, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

    Great Job,Julia!
    I am able to “feel” what you wrote as I am like you suffering a kind of exhaustion due to too much time spent on things that can be done a lot faster. Therefore, I am really interested in the topic you chose: University – Work – Household – Sport – Party – Social Commitment – Sleep… How should I handle all this?
    Moreover,your topic is of current importance for the whole society as well as for us as students. It is hence really clever to connect it to one of our courses in university;-)
    It had been helpful for me, if the expert’s opinions would have been emphasized e.g. in the form of a blockquote. Thus, it would have been easier for me to distinguish them from your own opinion.
    Nevertheless,you succeed in creating a sophisticated post on a difficult issue 😉

  3. angi2012 June 20, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

    hello Julia
    I think the topic is very important, because it affects all of us. I think it can happen to anyone, we (now students) really have to do much, especially in examination period. I think for someone who cannot stand the pressure it can very soon come to burnout. Did you know that many stars had already burnouts? I thought they don´t have problems and that they live a happy life- ohm nop, perhaps they have even more problems. Check this link out o.k.
    May be you could write your next post on that ,)

  4. melissano18 June 26, 2012 at 11:03 am #

    Hey Julia!
    I think this is such an interesting topic! As you showed in your post it is not just important, it actually could affect all of us. I agree that we are often really stressed out. I often feel this way! Then it comes all together and I do not know how to handle it!
    I really liked that you showed the reasons and different opinions. Maybe you could have put in some more quotes and opinions from specialists.
    Nevertheless I liked that you displayed your own personal opinions, where most of us really can agree with you.
    Your post is very structured mostly because of the little subheadings, which is very helpful for the reader.
    At the end you also give some advice and solutions, what you do and what we could also do to reduce our stress!

    Great post, Julia!


  1. Work- Life Balance « hit the nail on the top - June 20, 2012

    […] my last two blog posts ”Burnout Syndrome: A Disease of Modern Societies?” and “Have you reached your limit yet?“, I wrote about the burnout syndrome and how it is related to student’s work load at […]

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