Burnout in College Students (Part 1)

Tatyana A. Reed

With school coming into full swing, before we can even get that deep, it’s time to look at burnout, particularly in students. Have you ever taken on way too many tasks and at the last minute realized it’s causing an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion and being stressed out? Or have you ever been so busy you feel like nothing is going to get done correctly or done at all? If you have felt like this, nine times out of ten you were experiencing burnout.

According to pyschologytoday.com burnout is “a state of emotional, mental, and often physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged or repeated stress.” Burnout is not a widely talked about topic unless the causes have been detrimental to an individual. In this article, we will talk about the symptoms, affects, and how to avoid burnout.


Before we can talk about the signs of burnout, we first have to understand that there is a difference between burnout and stress. David Ballard, member of the American Psychological Association, describes burnout as “an extended period of time where someone experiences exhaustion and a lack of interest in things, resulting in a decline in their job [academic] performance.”


Here are just some of the early indicators of college burnout according to collegeinfogeek.com:

  • Constant exhaustion
  • Lack of motivation
  • Constant frustration
  • Grades beginning to decline
  • Struggling to pay attention
  • Disengagement from friends and colleagues


A study conducted by University of South Maine in 2006 had 354 students answer questions that helped look at why burnout may be happening to college students. Here are the four most prevalent answers:

  • 13% said it was due to lack of motivation on their personal part
  • 25% attributed it to issues caused by their part time job ( finance and lack of time) and due to family issues
  • 5% said it was caused by a professor
  • And the most prevalent answer was because of having too many assignments on their plate


If you or someone you know is dealing with burnout, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.



Harrison, Mike. “Avoid College Burnout.” Great Lakes Christian College, 22 Jan. 2018, http://www.glcc.edu/avoid-college-burnout/ (PHOTO)

Jerry, Lisa M. “10 Signs you’re Burning Out — And What To Do About It.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 3 Jan. 2018, http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2013/04/01/10-signs-youre-burning-out-and-what-to-do-about-it/.

Stephanie Cushman & Richard West (2006) Precursors to College Student Burnout: Developing a Typology of Understanding, Qualitative Research Reports in Communication, 7:1, 23-31, DOI: 10.1080/17459430600964638

Vaiana, Dominic. “Burnout in College: What Causes It and How to Avoid It.” College Info Geek, 5 Mar. 2019, collegeinfogeek.com/student-burnout/

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