The ‘End-of-Semester Slump’: How Students are Coping With Burnout
Dominique Pal, a biology student, is having a difficult time finding balance.
“I definitely feel more stressed around this time of year because of a combination of final assignments, exams, and the change in weather. There’re a lot of pressure to perform at a high level towards the end of the year,” Pal shares.
As the days grow shorter and the deadlines become more frequent, experiences of the end-of-semester slump might become more common.
Katie Chauvin, the Mental Health and Wellness Coordinator for the University of Windsor’s Student Counseling Centre, says that this time of year is often quite stressful for students.
End-of-semester slump is the name given to feelings of burnout caused by endless readings, papers, and projects.
Frank Fountain, a communications student, says that he experiences the end-of-semester slump. “Between papers, exams, and working a job, things can get pretty stressful. It can be difficult to balance school and work, while also trying to unwind.”
“It makes so much sense, given the increase in academic demands that come at this point in the semester, the ongoing pressure to succeed, the colder weather, reduced daylight, the holiday season… all on top of the many life stressors students are already experiencing,” Katie says.
“For first year students, this is their first time writing final exams in university, and many are trying to navigate post-secondary life after being disrupted by the pandemic. For graduating students, the pressure of having to decide what comes next is often building up at this time of year, and can feel overwhelming alongside heightened academic and life demands.”
These are a few examples of some of the challenges students experience this time of year. Katie emphasizes the importance of being kind to yourself, recognizing that they are not alone in these feelings, and reaching out for support.
What is burnout?
“Burnout is the experience of feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted and disconnected following prolonged periods of chronic stress,” Katie says. “It can impact all areas of our lives and takes a toll on mental and physical health.”
Here are some of Katie’s tips for students experiencing burnout:
- Take time each day to mindfully explore how you’re feeling, what you’re experiencing, a and what you need in the moment
- Go back to the basics! Make basic human needs like sleep, healthy eating, exercise, social connection, and staying hydrated a priority in your day
- Schedule time to take care of yourself by setting small, achievable goals to build your sense of accomplishment over time. Make a healthy meal, go for a walk, practice meditation, connect with someone you love
- Talk to someone you trust and let them know how you’re feeling- a friend, family member, counsellor, doctor, helpline, or religious leader
To find balance, Fountain says he likes to listen to music, take a drive during study breaks for a change in scenery. “It’s also important to communicate with your friends, because they’re in the same boat as you!” he adds.
“I’ll do a lot of self-care activities and listen to my needs. I enjoy things like spending time with family and friends and investing time in hobbies that I actually enjoy. Taking restful breaks is very important during this time of year,” Pal says.
“It can be a reminder of the importance of being kind to one another. We often have no way of knowing who around us might be struggling, but we do know that moments of care and connection can make a difference,” Katie shares.
If you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, please know you don’t have to go through it alone.
“One of the things I love the most about our university is the number of people who truly care and want to be there for our students,” Katie says.
“Our professional team in the Student Counselling Centre provides free, confidential mental health support to registered students, including individual and group therapy.”
To schedule an intake appointment, students can email email@example.com or call 519-253-3000 ext. 4616.
For additional tips on coping and taking care of yourself, visit www.uwindsor.ca/wellness/408/skills-coping-and-healing
To learn about available support, visit www.uwindsor.ca/wellness
If you are in crisis or are experiencing thoughts of suicide, please reach out right away. There are caring professionals on campus and in the community who know how to have conversations about the pain you’re experiencing and want to help. Please visit www.uwindsor.ca/wellness/394/you-matter to learn more.