As the end of the year creeps up on us, it’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy of midterms and papers. The days are getting shorter and the time spent in the library is longer.
In a tweet by the account @BarstoolGauchos, the fall frenzy is summed up as: “November’s a stressful time at UCSB. You suddenly have a midterm or assignment due at least every 2 days, it’s cold now (??), everyone is panicking and it’s dark all the time.”
Recently, the term “burn-out culture” has been used to describe young people and the phenomenon in which working non-stop is seen as a praiseworthy practice, while taking time off to relax seems like an act of weakness. Young people are expected to push themselves to their limits in order to achieve success in the workplace.
This working culture encourages individuals to sacrifice mental and physical health in order to get farther in their goals.
Abigail Coy, a third-year chemistry major, believes burn-out culture means that if we’re not burnt out then we’re doing something wrong. She admits that she often feels pressured to work harder than she probably needs to.
“I’m privileged enough to have parents who are able to pay for my tuition and living expenses,” she said, “but I still work two part-time jobs because I feel like if I don’t work really hard then I don’t deserve to have my parents pay for my education.”
UCSB is no exception from burn-out culture, as is the case for communication graduate student Chantel Haughton, who says the rigor of her graduate program demands constant stress. “It’s a very prestigious program so the expectations are very high,” said Haughton, “and pushing yourself past a point that’s healthy is so common for a lot of us.”
On top of school work, students at UCSB also experience stressors from their personal lives. Students can fall under the impression that as a part of UCSB, they must develop a “work hard, play hard” attitude, in which they are just as active socially as they are academically.
“I derive stress from my social and personal life more than my academic and work life,” explained Aniket Mehrotra, a first-year pre-economics major. “So being at UCSB, where everyone always seems to be having fun, it becomes easy to fall into a mindset that ‘I’m not having enough fun’ or even FOMO (fear of missing out).”
Fourth-year computer engineering student Griffin Danninger said, “I see it as a cycle, where people practice self-care only because they have to in order to go back to work. Self-care is an enabler of burn-out rather than an independently meaningful activity.”
Although being a student at UCSB could be stressful, the campus also offers several resources to help students decompress and practice self-care. Multiple students also credited the campus’s surrounding nature in having helped them relax during overwhelming times.
Olivia Berriz, a fourth-year English major shares her tips for self-care. For her, going to therapy is a very effective method, as it helps her learn how to handle “toxic” situations in a healthier way.
“It’s also important to set boundaries for yourself,” said Berriz. “Prioritize what makes you feel comfortable and communicate what you need with others. Don’t worry about coming off as mean or hurting the other’s feelings, it’s more important that you feel comfortable.”
Going into finals season, it’s important to remember to take some time out of our busy days to take care of our physical and mental health. Even though it may seem easier to drink another Yerba Mate and pull an all-nighter, don’t forget to prioritize what you need to break out of the cycle of burn-out.