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It’s Ok to Not Be Ok: Dealing with Burnout as an Online Student

Burnout is more than just one-time tiredness. It’s the constant feeling of being drained, having headaches, and can lead to having no motivation, and as an online student, it’s a familiar feeling to me, and I’m sure to other fellow students as well. 

Why do I feel like this?

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It’s a constant question I ask at this point, having no motivation even to do any of my work, and when doing it, I feel sluggish and unsatisfied with the result. Dealing with having works to do yet having no motivation even when trying can be frustrating. I am the kind of student that doesn’t cry for school works, but now, the constant mental breakdown I’m having is tiring. With no way of going to a different place for a breather, I feel stuck. 

 

A different ambiance

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There are many jokes about how students joke around during face-to-face classes but in reality, having those moments after a long lesson helps. Having school at home, you are faced with responsibilities from both, and distractions are all around you (I’m looking at you video games). 

Different social interactions also help make school less tiring, the after-class discussions of lessons you don’t understand, the kwek-kwek and fishball from outside. Personally, I go to school very early to avoid traffic and that early morning walk is definitely a feeling I miss. Another one is, I never thought I’d miss that late-night bus home; the sleep hits different. Stress is totally different when dealing with it alone, the discussions you make with your groupmates, the meet-ups that lead to a snack fest, then stressing about the work later but after finishing that certain work, the feeling is just amazing, especially when it paid off.

 

Different learning style

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I’ll be honest. I am not the brightest one out there; I’m also not a person who studies a lot (heck, do I even study?), but my grades are ok because I learn to listen. Listening to my profs and my classmates when they review. Every student has different things they excel at and different learning styles, and online class takes that away. Face to face classes is more effective, Having a support system that helps you with lessons you don’t know; your 2 most smart classmates argue how a formula works helps! 

Understanding both sides

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It’s easy to blame professors for giving out too much work, and yes, there are profs like that. They think hey, you’re already at home so you can do this stuff and study yourself. But they are also having a hard time, they are in this environment with little to no training and resources. Constant internet troubles, worn down laptops which were not that big deal before, suddenly became the most important. Respect and communication are the key in times like this.

My mental health

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Mental health is taboo here in the Philippines, especially when you’re often said that you are just lazy or your exaggerating stuff is normal. Being able to see a professional is a privilege, with me constantly denying and saying that maybe I am just lazy or it’s all in my head (which is kind of the point, like it’s in my head…get out), recognizing that hey, maybe I am not doing ok mentally like hey maybe crying at 3 AM while staring at a blank document is not normal. The constant feeling of I’m tired, but I feel not tired, and blank is confusing. Recognizing this stuff is important because now maybe you can do things about it (especially my fear of phone calls). 

Conclusion

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Is there a dire conclusion or a solution I can give you? NOPE! NONE! But remember that being not ok is ok, either having burnout, anxiety, or even heartbreak. Having emotions is what makes you human and recognizing you are not ok is the first step in improving things. 

School and life can be hard, but close your eyes and listen to that graduation tune, and we will reach all of our dreams. Just do your best and remember that taking a rest for your mental health is ok.  A fun ritual is just tapping that chest with your pal and saying, “All is well!”. 

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