Switched Off

Junior, teacher discuss burnout


Kaitlin Green, Publication Editor

Amidst chaotic classes, extracurricular activities and daily life, students become swamped with work during their second semester of each school year. This can lead to procrastination and apathy, more commonly known as burnout.

Like most high school students, junior Tyler Runyan has experienced burnout, most notably during her fourth quarter of sophomore year and her first semester of junior year.

“I got out of the habit of doing homework and learning material,” Runyan said. “Then this year, it was hard going into all the junior AP and honors classes and not remembering how to study for them.”

On top of new courses, many students have adjusted to the lack of social time at school over the past year.

“A lot of my motivation for school was having my friends there,” Runyan said. “It’s kind of like a competition — I want to measure up to how my friends are doing.”

Students’ burnout does not go unnoticed by their teachers. Theresa Middleton, one of the AP Language and Composition teachers, has witnessed the effects of high-stress classes and situations.

“When I see students who are struggling with burnout, it’s due to being overwhelmed and then shutting down,” Middleton said. “If students are not understanding something fully, they’ll switch it off.”

On the other hand, Middleton has also seen teens who are unaffected by second-semester pressures.

“Students that don’t experience burnout are the ones that can shift gears and pull out their stamina,” she said. “They shut down the thoughts of ‘I’m tired,’ [or] ‘I’m sick of this.’”

Middleton recognizes that most students, AP or not, deal with procrastination. In order to combat this vice, she suggests a simple trick — beginning.

“If you could just take it on, just 1% of what you’re avoiding, that burnout will lift 1%,” Middleton said.

Runyan also suggests students study with friends in order to regain motivation.

“Having people that I can do homework with makes me more responsible for it,” Runyan said. “Especially if we’re doing peer edits or group projects, I feel more responsible because what I’m doing is affecting someone else.”

Even though this has not been a normal year for students, the end is in sight. Middleton believes as long as students do not give up, they will be victorious over their lack of motivation.

“You have to keep moving one foot in front of the other,” Middleton said. “This too shall pass. You will get through it.”