" />
close icon

what are you looking for?

close icon

badges you can earn

earn editorial badges by uploading a number of stories.
  • 1
  • 10
    senior writer
  • 20
    sub - editor
  • 50
close icon

Sign Up

use your university email address to create your account.

Username already exists, please use another email address.

Please ensure all fields aren't empty

  • Please Select
  • Abertay University
  • Aberystwyth University
  • Anglia Ruskin University
  • Anglo-European College of Chiropractic
  • Arden University
  • Arts University Bournemouth
  • Ashridge Executive Education
  • Aston University
  • Bangor University
  • Bath Spa University
  • Birkbeck University of London
  • Birmingham City University
  • Bishop Grosseteste University
  • Bournemouth University
  • BPP University
  • British School of Osteopathy
  • Brunel University
  • Bucks New University
  • Canterbury Christ Church University
  • Cardiff Metropolitan University
  • Cardiff University
  • City, University of London
  • Courtauld Institute of Art
  • Coventry University
  • Cranfield University
  • De Montfort University
  • Durham University
  • Edge Hill University
  • Edinburgh Napier University
  • European School of Economics
  • Falmouth University
  • Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Glasgow School of Art
  • Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Guildhall School of Music and Drama
  • Harper Adams University
  • Heriot-Watt University
  • Heythrop College, University of London
  • Imperial College London
  • Keele University
  • King's College London
  • Kingston University
  • Lancaster University
  • Leeds Beckett University
  • Leeds College of Art
  • Leeds Trinity University
  • Liverpool Hope University
  • Liverpool John Moores University
  • London Business School
  • London Metropolitan University
  • London School of Economics and Political Science
  • London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
  • London South Bank University
  • Loughborough University
  • Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Middlesex University
  • Newcastle University
  • Newman University, Birmingham
  • Northumbria University
  • Norwich University of the Arts
  • Nottingham Trent University
  • Oxford Brookes University
  • Plymouth College of Art
  • Plymouth Marjon University
  • Plymouth University
  • Queen Margaret University
  • Queen Mary University of London
  • Queen's University Belfast
  • Regent's University London
  • Robert Gordon University
  • Rose Bruford College
  • Royal Academy of Music
  • Royal Agricultural University
  • Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
  • Royal College of Art
  • Royal College of Music
  • Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Royal Northern College of Music
  • Royal Veterinary College
  • School of Advanced Study
  • Scotland's Rural College
  • Sheffield Hallam University
  • SOAS, University of London
  • Southampton Solent University
  • St George's, University of London
  • St Mary's University, Twickenham
  • Staffordshire University
  • Swansea University
  • Teesside University
  • The American International University in London
  • The London Institute of Banking & Finance
  • The Open University
  • The University of Law
  • Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
  • Ulster University
  • University College Birmingham
  • University College London
  • University College of Estate Management
  • University for the Creative Arts
  • University of Aberdeen
  • University of Bath
  • University of Bedfordshire
  • University of Birmingham
  • University of Bolton
  • University of Bradford
  • University of Brighton
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Buckingham
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Central Lancashire
  • University of Chester
  • University of Chichester
  • University of Cumbria
  • University of Derby
  • University of Dundee
  • University of East Anglia
  • University of East London
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Essex
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Gloucestershire
  • University of Greenwich
  • University of Hertfordshire
  • University of Huddersfield
  • University of Hull
  • University of Kent
  • University of Leeds
  • University of Leicester
  • University of Lincoln
  • University of Liverpool
  • University of London
  • University of Manchester
  • University of Northampton
  • University of Nottingham
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Portsmouth
  • University of Reading
  • University of Roehampton
  • University of Salford
  • University of Sheffield
  • University of South Wales
  • University of Southampton
  • University of St Andrews
  • University of Stirling
  • University of Strathclyde
  • University of Suffolk
  • University of Sunderland
  • University of Surrey
  • University of Sussex
  • University of the Arts
  • University of the Highlands and Islands
  • University of the West of England
  • University of the West of Scotland
  • University of Wales
  • University of Wales Trinity Saint David
  • University of Warwick
  • University of West London
  • University of Westminster
  • University of Winchester
  • University of Wolverhampton
  • University of Worcester
  • University of York
  • Wrexham Glyndwr University
  • Writtle University College
  • York St John University

By creating an account you agree to the uni news Terms and Conditions, and agree to receive marketing communications.

close icon

subscribe to uni news

get the latest articles straight to your inbox.


Burnout in students: why we should acknowledge it

This exam season, after pulling consecutive all-nighters and living on a diet of coffee and crisps from the University library’s vending machine, it is very likely that you’ll be experiencing ‘burnout’. But what is burnout?

The term has been around for a number of years, and it most commonly refers to when things just get too much. You have been doing so much with work, school, extra-curriculars that you haven’t really given your body much of a chance to catch up. Imagine your body is a glass that can hold one litre of water, and rather than pouring the correct amount in and giving that water time to be drunk, you just keep pouring more and more in; more than the glass can handle. So, the glass overfills.

View this post on Instagram

The voice of burnout is not YOUR voice. Burnout will say you aren't cut out for it, that you don't enjoy it, that you aren't good at it. Don't make career decisions while you are burned out. Switch employers, cut down hours, get a side gig selling slotted spoons on eBay, do what you gotta do to equal out your stress and your support resources. . . . I think this article was the most important thing I read in all of grad school. Main takeaway: burnout isn't weakness, incompatibility with the field, or even a simple response to stress: burnout is what happens when we are exposed to more stress than we are given resources to cope with. A portion of these needed resources are self-care, but it's more about professional resources: good supervision, time and space to ethically and confidentially process with colleagues, and time off to recharge. Agencies and organizations often put the burden on staff via instructions to "self care," but evidence suggests this is an occupational health problem. Agencies can reduce therapist burnout by increasing support resources. . . . Check out the full article (this doodle covers just a fraction of it!) by clicking on the link in my profile to my website (where you'll find a bonus burnout doodle!) Or googling the title + author (Alexandra Michel) . . . #therapistproblems #therapistlife #burnout #stressedout #selfcare #mentalhealthawareness #sketchnote

A post shared by Lindsay - Psych Sketchnotes (@lindsaybraman) on

Despite burnout being pretty well-known, it is very often overlooked.

However, burnout has recently been classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a ‘syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed’. 

Although the WHO look at burnout primarily in a workplace context, it is something that can clearly be applied to student life. How often do you talk to your friends about feeling stressed with assignments, exams and lectures? Do you often find yourself huddled in the library finishing an essay despite telling yourself that you would take time off? Evidently, university is a place full of people who are under constant, debilitating stress who—due to deadlines and a desire to do well—don’t give themselves as much of a break as they perhaps should. 

Subsequently, the WHO characterises burnout according to three dimensions:

  • Feelings of energy depletion and exhaustion
  • Increased mental distance, negativity or cynicism towards one’s job
  • Reduced professional efficacy

Let’s go through this step-by-step. Firstly, students having a reputation for being lazy. They oversleep, don’t tidy up enough and miss all their lectures and seminars in favour of a lie in after their wild nights out. However, what people don’t seem to realise is that although students go out a lot during Freshers' Week, they are often spending sleepless nights in the library; poring over textbooks, studying, or writing 4,000-word essays. When they finish in the early hours of the morning, they manage to fit in a few hours of sleep before they have to get up and repeat the process. 

On top of that, you have a lot of students who have to work part-time in order to supplement the cost of living; and, don’t forget that we are also expected to do work experience and internships throughout our degree, because the degree alone isn’t enough to get a job anymore: not to mention those students who are also involved in student societies, committees and sports teams. All things considered, I think it’s fair to say that students might sleep in a bit later than those with a 9-5 job as a direct result of burnout—they are experiencing ‘energy depletion and exhaustion’ which then leads to ‘reduced professional efficacy’.

Secondly, how often have you said or heard others say that they loved their degree subject at secondary school, but subsequently lost that passion after studying it at University? This is a fairly common phenomenon which is another clear sign of burnout: by losing their passion for the subject or, as some students do, growing to resent it, it is clear that students are experiencing that ‘increased mental distance’ from the thing they love because they are becoming burnt out.

Overall, we need to look at burnout in a wider context—you only need to know a student or experience being one to know that the stress they’re under is more than or equal to a full-time job. If we learn how to recognise the signs of burnout in students, we will be in a better position help ourselves and others. Burnout in students needs to be taken seriously, and we need to encourage them to take time out for themselves to rest.

So, when people say that they need to ‘recharge their batteries’, it’s truer than you think. You wouldn’t expect your phone to work days on end without giving it some time to charge, so why not give yourself the same respect. We might not be Apple products with a Retina display, but we’re still pretty damn valuable.