I think everyone would agree new is better; fresh is far superior to stale. As students we sometimes fall into a grove, which turns to a rut if we aren’t careful. Taking the same path to each class everyday. Ordering the same items off the limited menu. Attend class, study after, attend class, study after then maybe sleep. It all becomes something of an academic Groundhog’s Day. This repetitious rhythm can occur with athletes as well, often becoming detrimental to keeping their game at its peak performance. The opposite of fresh is burnt out. Contrary to pop culture, cult classic films, burnouts rarely achieve anything of value.
So first how do you know if you are well on your way to breaking down or simply experiencing a case of the Mondays? Dr. Alan Goldberg, sports psychology expert compiled a simple checklist for warning signs of burnout, which I will run through. First Physical fatigue- daily tasks are carried out in an apathetic manner; you go to sleep exhausted and wake up the same way. Constant illness followed by constant pain or achy muscles. Loss of fun- you just can’t wait for the day to be over. Loss of meaning- constantly asking yourself “why am I doing this?” Experiencing difficulty focusing. Finally displaying behavioral problems- unwarranted outbursts or a consistent negative attitude. To be sure, we all experience these symptoms but we should be aware if it’s an everyday thing or just a today thing.
Goldberg suggests that there are three main causes to these symptoms and the sooner they are pin pointed and relieved the better. The first cause being, of course, lack of rest. No one should pull all-nighters if it means hating your life in class or even skipping class because you over slept- that defeats the whole purpose. Take a nap, take a walk, meditate or kick the crap out of a ball; it really doesn’t matter how it’s done, just release some steam. Another cause is too much pressure. You shouldn’t be in constant dread of going to school, you chose your major for a reason and hopefully that reason was because you enjoy the material. However I understand, money talks. A little anxiety is fine, it means you actually care about succeeding but if your heartburn is onset by the sight of your syllabus maybe it’s time to reevaluate. The third cause is tying your self-worth to your performance. That is, if you perform well, you’re a worthwhile person and if you fail, then you are worthless. You are not your transcript or the lost championship.
You are more than the sum of your parts Islanders. Let your light shine not burnout. In the words of Jay-Z, “…I move forward the only direction can’t be scared to fail search and perfection…it’s all about progression, loiterers should be arrested…”