If you’re in school for any long period of time then you’re bound to feel burnt out. Image Source

Hi lovely readers! I just wanted to announce that we’re sending Allie a $5.00 Amazon gift card for her awesome comment last week. We love great comments and we want to show our appreciation. Thanks Allie!


Burning out sucks. Being a student just makes it worse.

Here is the thing though: student burnout will usually become a good thing in the long run.

Every time you start burning out you probably feel frustrated but you should also be excited. It’s a sign that you’re about to figure something important out.

You’re frustrated with something in your life and this is your chance to solve it. Believe it or not, most students never even try to solve their frustrations in school because they’re too busy hiding it. Or worse, they never solve their problems because they ignore them. They suffer through them.

You don’t have to do that. You can solve your problems because you’re accepting reality:

You’re Burnt Out

School is a difficult time. The hardest job in the world is being a student because there is no other job with so little control or immediate reward.

The average employee can quit. The average employee can go home and use their paycheck. The average employee isn’t judged on their performance on a daily basis. The average student is stuck in a really tough position. They get judged. They don’t get paid. They can’t quit. You need to manage your emotions like a contortionist moves their body.

Some days you need to push yourself harder. Some days you need to learn to relax a little. Some days you need to study more. Some days you should probably study less. Some days you want to make friends with the teachers. Other days you want to call them out on their mistakes. School is complicated.

Accept that.

It’s okay to get frustrated. It’s natural.

Here is how you fix it:

What Can You Manage?

Getting your mind on paper gives you an excuse to get it off your mind. Image Source

There are plenty of things that you can’t manage in your life. That’s okay. Some things are beyond your control. Getting everything you want is not a prerequisite to happiness. (I’d be willing to bet it’s the opposite.) In fact, the number one contributor to happiness is control over your own life.

People are happier when they have choices but that isn’t the really important part. The important part is this…

People are happier when they know the choices they have (even if they don’t change their mind.)

In this site’s classic example:

Consider dropping out of school. It may not be a good choice but honestly consider whether or not you want to. By considering that possibility but choosing to stay in school, you’re going to be a whole lot happier staying at school.

If you can convince yourself that you have a choice then you’re happier despite your position not changing at all. It just improves your perspective.

That’s why I recommend dealing with student burnout by first figuring out what you can change…

Make a list of all of the important things in your life. You can make it the things you do or the goals you’re trying to achieve or the things you think about or anything that seems appropriate. What do you think the important things are?

Now that you know the important things… dig into that list and write down what you can change about them.

In college you have the freedom to:

  • Drop out
  • Work harder
  • Work less
  • Set different expectations
  • Change majors
  • Take a semester off

Just list what comes to your mind and try not to rule anything out that you think of. (If you can brainstorm it then it probably is possible. Don’t rule of the unpleasant yet.)

Go through these important things in your life and make new decisions. Stop and consider all the options you have. What are the consequences of each one? What are the potential rewards of each one? Which is your best option at this point in your life?

“At this point in your life” is important. I may wish I could become a Running Back in the NFL but my 150lb frame, mediocre fitness, and low potential doesn’t make this a very hopeful option. Sure… I could try. I just probably shouldn’t.

If you’re questioning whether or not you should change majors in college then you might want to think about the return on investment of your decision. As a freshman, it could be a good decision. As a senior, it could be a bad decision.

My point is: this isn’t a hopeful dreamy eyed discussion of possibilities. This should be an assessment grounded in reality.

Why This Works

Your life is your life. You need to live for the things that you value. Image Source

This strategy is all about getting what you’re thinking on paper.

No one can tell you how to deal with student burnout other than you. Getting your mind of paper helps you focus on what’s really important to you and what problems you’re really frustrated about in life. Every step of it is about getting control of your own thoughts.

Once you know what you’re really concerned about then you can gain control of your priorities.

Your reorganized priorities help you adjust your actions. You will find out if the things you’ve been spending your time on are actually the things you care about. You can get more focused on the things you care about.

I’ve talked with hundreds of students. I get messages from students struggling from some form of student burnout regularly. It’s a serious concern but it’s usually not a serious problem. It’s just the first step to getting to the solution.

Remember this: There is no permanent solution to burning out because life is always changing. Your priorities today may not be your priorities tomorrow. Over time, even small changes can turn into major frustrations because you don’t even notice how your priorities and actions are no longer aligned.

Relax. Figure out what matters. Focus on fixing that.

Surviving Student Burnout

Maybe She Won’t Notice

D’s eyes were watering at the score on the screen.

He was thinking, “Is this what I am now?”

The score was low. Lower than he liked to think about – and way lower than he used to get.

He was just hoping that his mother wouldn’t ask. He always hated telling her and it killed him worse to lie about it. It’s his mother… she wants what’s best for him and he knew he was screwing it up.

Staring at the score it hit him…

This has to change. On the next test, coming up in 3 weeks, he was going to make up for it. He was going to score high.

So… he studied. He studied for hours that night. He studied until his eyes were closing involuntarily.

The next day… he studied for hours.

And the day after that… he did it again.

But the day after that – his best friend was going through a bit of a crisis. So… he took the day off studying. I mean, no one needs to study hundreds of hours for a test, and he was doing well so far.

But the next day… he was exhausted. And, you know, exhausted studying doesn’t work. So he missed that day to.

The day after, he squeezed in some studying.

And… I think you know how this story goes…

The night before the test, he’s staring down at his study guide and cursing to himself.

It happened… again…


That night he buckled down and studied almost all night. (Until he virtually crashed at 3 am.) Every time he started dozing off earlier he’d get a snack or drink and keep on plugging. He worked. And he worked hard.

He even had moments where it felt like he was running better than ever. He felt like he was going to pull it off.

The test was the next afternoon.

And I’d like to say he knocked it out of the park and D saved himself with his last ditch effort to save his grade but…

I can’t say that.

Sure… D didn’t bomb completely.

But when he was staring down at his score… he was tearing up again. And he still was hoping that his mother wouldn’t ask him about it…

It’s not a number on a piece of paper.

I know… it can help reduce your stress to think that way, and there is a place for that.

But your future, your position in the world, is partially decided by these numbers on these papers. We all know it.

We all want to put ourselves in the best position possible – and these scores can do that for us.

And D knew it.

If you know it then join us.

– Aaron


D is kicking butt it this semester – more importantly, he’s doing it without procrastination rearing its ugly head.

If you’re ready to take your academic game to the next level – if you want to see it for yourself.

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Write your email in the box. Check the confirmation you want emails. Confirm your email. And see for yourself.

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6 thoughts on “Surviving Student Burnout

  • November 14, 2019 at 11:49 pm

    Really nice information that you shared in this article.

  • February 5, 2019 at 4:53 pm

    What I understand from this article is the value of education. The author speaks of school being the hardest job ever, even harder than one’s career choice. This article really brings out the importance of learning and studying smart instead of long.

  • March 6, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    What do you think about studying when you don’t really feel like you’re going to study well?

    I’m pretty tired and I’m not sure if I should push myself to study. I don’t think it’s going to help much to study but I know I probably should.

    • March 6, 2017 at 5:38 pm

      Do it.

      I know it’s not always easy but it gets harder when you debate about it. Thinking about it is the toughest part of the process. Make it habitually and you’ll never struggle to start studying. Well… almost never.

      There will come days when you can’t study. You’ll usually know it because you do something crazy like fall asleep while studying. It’s okay to not study by accident. It’s usually just a pain in the butt to skip it intentionally.

      Even if you don’t learn a ton from this session, it will help. It’s not only about what you learn. It’s also about how strong you’ll be getting yourself to study at a time like this.


  • March 6, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    This is an awesome idea!

    You say to consider all the options you have but I’m finding it a little tough.

    What counts as an option?

    I can think of millions of stupid things I could do. I imagine I shouldn’t list those but I don’t want to leave stuff off if it’s important. What’s the difference between real options worth considering and everything else?

    • March 6, 2017 at 5:34 pm

      Thanks for the question!

      That is one of the tough questions with this.

      My answer is go with your gut.

      Don’t repeat yourself. Dropping out and becoming a professional juggler can be categorized with dropping out and joining the circus. Just put all the similar stuff in the same categories.

      Having a ton of options is actually a good thing though. The more options you write down, the more relieved you’re going to feel at the end of it.


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