College Crackup Infographic

College Crackup

Coping With Academic Pressure

Graduate students are facing a great deal of pressure: demanding work load, tight schedules, highly competitive environment.
Prolonged exposure to such conditions poses a risk of emotional fatigue that may lead to burnout. This is a look on how academic burnout affects college students.

What’s Stressing Them Out?

  • Heavy Agenda
  • Grad students’ free time averages to about 15 hours per week. Not excluding time for family or job responsibilities, leaving little personal time.

  • Financial Pressure
  • Forty-six percent listed finances as an anxiety. Many are already in the work force, and face the tensions of the working world as well as those of intensive study.

  • Faculty Support
  • One third desired a deeper personal relationship with their supervising professor. Yet the need for individual support and affirmation often goes unmet due to a lack of faculty availability.

Traits (Shared by Students with Stress-Related Emotional Fatigue)

  • MULTI-TASKER loves to do several things at once
  • Feels GUILTY when relaxing
  • STEERS conversation toward their own interests
  • QUICKLY BORES with other people conversations
  • UNOBSERVANT about things not immediately connected what they’re doing
  • Usually feels ANXIOUS doing a task
  • Eager to finish it to get on to the next one
  • Prefers ACTIVE holidays to dreamy, relaxing ones
  • Tend to do most things at TOP SPEED
  • More interested in WINNING rather than simply participating or enjoying themshelves
  • Find it IMPOSSIBLE to attend meeting without speaking up

What’s So Bad about Burnout?

  • Work Quality Affected
  • Stress may produce a focus on short term completion versus long term learning. For instance, a fatigued student may cram for an exam rather than master the content. The result is that their work suffers, and they will not get the maximum value from his education.
    Second, many pressured students attempt to minimize other interests and limit their efforts to what is required within their field of study. This causes an unhealthy isolation.

  • Degree Plans Halted
  • Without change the graduate student may succumb to overwhelming fatigue which may lead to the halt of their degree plans. Dreams of teaching researching and publishing are shattered. Despite investment of years in academic training the grad will fall short of their perceived goals.

  • Relationship Stunted
  • Time limitations, lack of social involvement, and hesitancy toward self-disclosure prevent the natural development support networks. One typical coping mechanism is to guard personal “academic turf” from those perceived as competitors.
    In addition, emotional exhaustion may disturb family relationships. With little time together, family members fail to meet each other’s emotional needs. For married students, this leads to low self-esteem and results in depression for the couple.

  • Future Career Jeopardized
  • The academic life holds pressures that remain prevalent throughout graduate school and into an academic career. Yet, how often have so many struggled for so long, through so much, only because they say to themselves, “soon things will be different.”


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