How to cope with VCE burn out?
VCE is a demanding experience for most students. The amount of workload can become overwhelming and the stress of the competition can cause some tremendous emotional pressure. By winter most VCE students are becoming “sick” of studying and they naturally lose that motivation to study and try. By September/October the stress of the approaching VCE exams and the insecurity that students face can cause VCE burn out.
In this article we will be exploring the actions that you as a VCE student can take in order to prevent burning out in this important year, thereby maximising your ATAR score. We will also be suggesting some useful exercises that you can take in order to reduce the VCE burn out.
What is burn out?
Burning out is a term to describe a feeling of helplessness and indifference. At the beginning of the VCE every student is motivated to do well and try hard. Students are motivated to do their homework and try their best because the year is fresh and optimism is still high. However, as the months fade, the work piles up and the optimism dimishes students begin to feel tired and overwhelmed. This happens to the majority of students during their VCE year – although the students may be bright and intelligent on an emotional and physical level it is difficult to deal with the demands of the year.
Signs and symptoms of burning out in the VCE
– Continuous tiredness which does not fade with sleep/diet
– Unwilling to use full potential i.e. working with only 10% efficiency
– Irritability and mood swings
– Possible signs of depression
– Withdrawing from school
– Negative outlook towards school, teachers, school friends and anything related to VCE
– Feeling overwhelmed and “over it”
– Slower than usual thinking process
– Unable to focus clearly
– Avoiding homework, SACs and important assesments
– Indifference toward ATAR score and future studying
What causes burn out during the VCE?
Burning out during the VCE is very unfortunate because it does not allow individuals to maximise their potential. Burning out is caused by a lack of proper balance in life over a long span of time. Students that push themselves too hard throughout the year and tackle their VCE with too much intensity will be more prone to burning out. If a student doing their VCE does not look after basic needs such as sleep, rest, proper diet, social interaction and enough reward – they will lose a sense of balance in their life. Throughout time, the body and mind will begin to demand these basic needs and will lose interest in VCE. Eventually if the student continues to deprive themselves, it can lead to significant burn out.
In summary the following actions contribute to burning out in the VCE:
– Lack of sleep
– Lack of proper diet
– No time for friends/social life because of studying
– Studying for too many hours per day
– Taking to many tutoring hours
– Not enough time for enjoyment and hobbies
– Low immunity
– Too many expectations
– Family pressure
– Trying to be perfect in everything
– Being very competative or focusing on competition
– Taking subjects that are too challenging or demanding for the skill set of the student
How to cope with VCE burn out?
The main causes of burn out are due to the student living out of balance and depriving themselves from their basic needs. Remembering that it is important to maintain a balance in studies and following a “middle path” can keep you consistent in motivation levels during the VCE. It is very important to have enough sleep, rest and fun! Otherwise VCE will start becoming a chore and will turn into a year of suffering.
– Ensure that you have 7-8 hours of sleep consistently throughout the year – try to keep this sleep consistent (even on weekends). Also aim to sleep at relatively the same time every night.
– Eat a proper diet – make sure you have enough vegetables, grains, fruits and nuts/legumes. Diet is very important for maintaining a strong immunity throughout the year and preventing tiredness and overwhelming emotions.
– Don’t overdo the study! Studying 8 hours a day until 3am is simply not sustainable to maintain throughout the whole year. Although it may work for 2 months – it can cause rapid burn out. What is more important? Studying 8 hours a day for 2 months then burning out, or studying 3-4 hours a day throughout the whole year?
– Reward yourself for studying. Without having some fun with friends, spending time with families and doing hobbies – it will cause disharmony in the student’s life. They will become more resentful towards VCE and develop a negative outlook on performance.
– Exercise consistently. Try to exercise 30-45 mins per day – it makes you feel fresh and healthy. It also prevents tiredness and increases immunity.
Final comments on VCE burn out
It is all about maintaining balance and using common sense. Do not overdo it! Ensure all your basic needs are maintained i.e. diet, exercise, sleep, rest and fun. By doing this, students will be able to maintain a healthy, positive outlook about VCE.