Academic Burnout, a Call for Help

By Marissa Nazeera

We are already reaching week fourteen of this semester. All of the students have been attending classes online and lecturers too, have been teaching virtually. We are all affected by this COVID-19 pandemic, wishing for at least a string of hope to start class physically again.

The current routine has been affecting student’s mental health because they are all starting their day by joining the class virtually via Zoom or Google Meet or even Facebook live. They then scroll social media during the 10-minute class break gap instead of walking from a building to another to join the next class. This routine is done repeatedly until the class ends, and the only lunch hour break is filled to eat their lunch or to perform Zuhur prayer.

As what can be seen here, the students have no escape route from over-using their phone or any other electronic gadgets. After all, if they wish to bond with family at night, they may opt to watch movies or even play games. But not everyone is blessed with such privilege, some might need to do part-time jobs after class ends to support their family financially. Some of them even need to stay at quarantine centre when being tested positive COVID-19.

This event somehow had led to academic burnout causing students wishing to drop out of university and to ‘heal’ from the ‘disease’. The never-ending assignments, tests and pop quiz on weekends, or even no break to rest can contribute to academic burnout.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Higher Education or even the university administration should take this matter seriously and come up with a better academic plan. The worst-case scenario of academic burnout can lead to suicide cases where it is believed to be a final and ‘better’ option for students to end their misery.

Nonetheless, it shall be noted the fact that when someone is experiencing academic burnout, they will eventually lose their motivation and will to do things they used to like. The loss of motivation will cause the students to even find it hard to focus for even a minute in class. Obviously, when a person cannot focus in class at all, it would later affect their CGPA results. Students who experience academic burnout may have difficulty to sleep or feel anxious and extremely stressful.

Should the government and the Ministry think of better academic plans, maybe this academic burnout can be prevented at an early stage. Now, we are at an untreatable stage and should just hope for a better day to come quickly.

It may be too late, but students can opt to take a break for even an hour at least. You can use the time to enjoy your own ‘me-time’ to do whatever you wish to do. After all, you owe a lot to yourself, so do not be hard on your own body and mind. Also, be firm when making decisions.

Never let others take advantage of you during this time and always be brave to say ‘NO’ if there is anyone making you do things you do not want to. For example, to cover their part in assignments or even to switch presentation turns. You have the fullest right to stand up for yourself, so do not be afraid of them. If you feel afraid, you can seek help from any of your friends to be the middle-man instead.

However, sincerely hoping everyone out there will stay strong physically and mentally. Should you feel like giving up, remember you should always reach out for help. Never think lightly of your current situation and neglect receiving help from professional or anyone. It can be your family, friends, or even anyone out there. You can simply call for help from Befrienders Malaysia at 603-76272929 or even IIUMSU Operation Room Hotline at 603-64213239. ***

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