Finding motivation after burnout

(FILE) Illustration of a person slumped with their head on top of an open textbook
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I don’t know if it’s just me, but this spring semester has been absolutely brutal. I’ve been lacking in just about everything: appetite, sleep, motivation, you name it. Truthfully, I’m not sure why that is. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been longing to be back home where the coffee’s warm and the cats are cuddly. Or maybe it’s a consequence of something in the brisk, February air because lately, I feel as if I’m simply scraping by. I know this isn’t the case, though. These are just my inner demons trying to get the best of me and second-guess my productivity. 

Moments such as these make me wonder if most college students feel the same way I do. Despite accomplishing every task I’ve desired to do by the end of the day, why is there still a sensation of disappointment? I’ll forever loathe the Berkeley bubble we live in for making us feel burnt out in the second month of the year. 

With midterms approaching (or as they’ve arrived for some of us), these emotions have heightened tenfold — at least for me. It takes a bit of perspective in order to calm these demons, doesn’t it? At times, it takes a really long time to even notice that something’s off. I mean, I wasn’t even in tune with these emotions myself. It took my English instructor’s free-write response prompts to come to these realizations. These prompts ranged from, “What’s been hard for you lately?” to, “What is one way you can be kind to yourself today?” 

Life sure is difficult. I’m only 18, yet I feel older because of this very notion. However, the important thing is to remain positive and optimistic even during the most brutal of experiences. While this too is difficult, it’s necessary. One thing I like to think of when I’m having a rough time is the vastness of our universe. We humans are ridiculously minuscule in the greater schemes of things, thus reasoning why a bad exam grade or a dispute with a friend genuinely isn’t the end of the world. This isn’t to say that a failing grade or relationship doesn’t matter: It’s usually just not as bad as we think it is at the given moment. 

We’re all floating as we go, hoping for the best for ourselves and those around us. It’s time we start giving ourselves some grace and patience. We’ll all be where we are meant to be soon. For now, stop and smell the roses every once in a while. After all, spring is near.

Contact Anyssa Torres at [email protected].