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We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

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Our experiences with burnout and strategies to overcome it

December 7, 2021

Burnout is such a real feeling! I can recognize that I’m feeling burnt out if I’m having trouble focusing on tasks and don’t feel as energetic as usual. 

Tip: Take breaks! I take study breaks to do things I like, for example watching an episode of a show or a Youtube video. This helps me feel a little less overwhelmed and gives me a chance to relax and refocus so I can keep working on tasks.

       -Sylvia Harnarain, Fifth Year, Life Sciences 

It is so easy to keep adding more and more to your plate. It’s University! There are so many exciting things happening at all times but eventually, you get to a point where your plate is completely full.

Tip: It is okay to say NO! Recognize your capacity to take on new projects and say no to ones that don’t fit into your schedule. It can be hard to say no to new opportunities but just remember, your mental health is the most important thing.

     - Angelique Dack, Fourth Year, Political Science

Burnout affects us all at some point throughout our post-secondary careers. In my experience, it originates from the continual workload of schoolwork that never seems to end. Personally, I’m someone who likes to get all my work done early so I have free time to myself after. Not just in school, but with life in general. With school, however, getting work done early only leaves you with more time to start other projects. This results in treading through new projects or assignments with little time to yourself. I have tried many things to help with my burnout, finding success in some methods that may be a little unorthodox. Regardless, the goal is to focus on yourself and ensure you are in a better place mentally to continue your schoolwork. Here, I will provide one traditional method and one “risky” method that I find helpful when dealing with burnout.  

 Distracting Yourself

Finding a hobby to give you a break from your work is something that many people do to combat burnout. You can distract yourself with literally any activity (it does not have to be physical activity). For me, my go-to activities are video games, driving, and playing basketball. I find time throughout my week to incorporate these activities into my life to help give my brain a rest and blow off some steam. This for me is more of something to soothe me temporarily and help me power through the remainder of the semester.

Taking a break from school

This is certainly the riskiest of the 2 methods as doing this incorrectly can most definitely have a negative effect on your grades. Taking a break from school involves you removing yourself from everything school-related for an extended period of time. The rationale behind this approach is that removing yourself from school will help “reset” your brain and provide you with a new attitude and motivation for the remainder of the semester; similar to starting a whole new semester. Now depending on how busy you are, maybe you can only afford to do this for 1 or 2 days. Maybe you can pull off 3 days but still need to attend certain lectures. The beauty of this approach is that you can choose what you can handle. For instance, if you want to take 2 days away from school but have an assignment due on one of those days, you can absolutely make sure you meet that deadline. Whether you finish the assignment early or cut your break short, it is always possible to remain in control of your schoolwork. The last thing you want is for this strategy to directly impact your grades. You also want to make sure you plan this break in advance. The idea of a break may come spontaneously, but you definitely should not act on it until you have reasoned out all the pros and cons of taking time off during the time you intend to. Personally, I can go upwards of the weekend to a whole week without doing anything school-related. The only thing I end up missing is lectures; however, I make sure I have someone in my classes who will help me take notes for that period of time I am gone. In addition, I complete all my assignments prior to taking the break and put my break on pause to meet any deadlines during that time off. Typically, I end up doing this at least once per semester, usually after all midterms have been completed.  

            - Isaac Akhigbe, Third Year, Communications and Digital Media

Burnout is very common since we are living our daily busy lives especially for those who are in high school and university. This could be common for those who are feeling overwhelmed from carrying a lot of responsibilities and having a lot of work stacked up. I know the feeling is real and it happens! I can sense the fact I have experienced burnout when I face trouble focusing on keeping up with regular studying after coming home from lectures, procrastinating when I have plenty of assignments and projects stacked up back to back, feeling lethargic near deadlines and in exam seasons, accumulation of stress level, and sacrificing a lot of social time and hobbies due to schooling. I remember how stressful high school was when going near exam season and having a lot of assignments and unit tests in order to wrap up the semester.  

Finding Relaxing Things to Do During Study Breaks 

In order to make time to do the things you love outside of school, write down things you would love to do outside of school, what responsibilities you have to do outside of school, and any extracurricular activities that you are a part of. Based on the dates you have classes, study after class and in between classes find something relaxing. For example, when I finish one hour of my study session for a class, I would take a 10-minute break by playing the guitar since I find guitar is something I love to play, and listening to the tunes makes me feel more excited to a point where the feeling of stress has disappeared. 

            - Venorth Logan, Fifth Year, Automotive Engineering

By Digital Community Crew