Students who dedicated their Thanksgiving Break to relaxing and recharging returned to campus this past weekend feeling no more motivated to work or study than they did the week before. “I felt burnt out in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, and thanks to a week of doing nothing, I feel more burnt out than when I first came home,” shared Sophia DiGiacomo ’23. “I didn’t think that I would make it to Thanksgiving Break, and now I don’t know if I’ll make it to Winter Break.”
Students have been reporting high rates of burnout since the second week of school. “I spent the first week of classes reading each of my syllabi cover to cover,” explained Bill Carlson ’25. “This was a major step-up in my workload compared to the summer, when I did not read any sillabi.” Carlson argued that his feelings of burnout are heightened by the return to in-person learning. “Don’t get me wrong, I worked hard during virtual school to master GamePigeon cup pong and learn how to use Zoom’s wide range of filters,” Carlson added. “However, I wasn’t prepared to do more than one to two hours per week of real school stuff like coming to class.”
Professors observed major changes in student behavior since Thanksgiving Break. “Before break, three to four students would fall asleep in my class every week,” commented Professor Aaron Smith. “This week after break, three to four students didn’t show up to class.” These students, sources have found, spent Smith’s class sleeping in and “desperately trying to find the willpower to do anything related to school.”
Some members of the campus community have argued that professors are overworking students to the point of burnout. When The Student reached out to Professor Smith for comment, he replied with a thumbs up emoji and assigned The Student’s reporters, who do not currently take a class with Smith, 125 pages of reading and a 1,000 word essay due next Monday. “Burnout is the result of students’ overexerting themselves with extracurriculars and taking challenging classes like my own, which is specifically designed to overexert students,” Smith later wrote.
Carlson shared that he is counting down the days until Winter Break: “I worry that come Dec. 17, I’ll lose all ability to study set theory and analyze the temporality of political violence. I might even forget how to compute basic arithmetic, speak in full sentences, and get out of bed every morning.”