BY ELENA VALDEZ
It’s not uncommon for students to find themselves in a state of apathy and exhaustion.
“Burnouts” come across as students who have stopped caring for the most part. These students don’t show up to class, drop extracurriculars, do the bare minimum and after years of trying their hardest, they seemed to have just given up. This phenomenon many high schoolers experience is now an “occupational syndrome,” according to the International Classifications of Diseases as of May of this year.
Although high school is not a job that students get paid for, it takes up the vast majority of their time and occupies more than 20 years of their lives in certain cases. Students are still growing and academics are getting increasingly more competitive. The vast majority of the student body feels as though all importance has been placed on academic success and that their well-being is an afterthought.
“I believe burning out is a serious issue especially with upcoming generations,” junior Matthew Milotakis said. “A burnout, especially this early in life, can be dangerous because teens are still expected to do so many things.”
The syndrome was first explained as a state of “vital exhaustion” due to working conditions. In a school setting, there is pressure from parents, teachers, prospective colleges, administrators and even the students themselves. It has created a perpetual state of panic where students can’t help but wonder if they’re doing well enough; these thoughts cause students to worry more and more as they overwork themselves trying to get to the top or even just to get by.
“This is something we should take a look at and see how it’s impacted our students here at CCHS.”
By classifying burnout as a legitimate syndrome, many psychologists hope people will consider how their work affects their mental health and that they will begin to take it seriously.
“We want to make sure that we are providing them [students] with coping skills to handle their stress,” Peer Counseling Advisor and Ninth Grade Counselor Kimberly Lilly said. “This is something we should take a look at and see how it’s impacted our students here at CCHS.”
In order to be diagnosed with burnout syndrome, one must have persistent “feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.”
These symptoms greatly coincide with depression. Because of this, actually being able to diagnose someone with burnout syndrome has proven to be challenging.
“Think of your academics as a marathon, not a race.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) is still in the process of outlining the causes and symptoms of the syndrome that would make it possible to differentiate it from depression. Work, or school in many cases, can intensify pre-existing conditions such as depression. A sole diagnosis of burnout syndrome may in some instances be incorrect or incomplete, and therefore, may impact the patient’s treatment and ability to get better.
The severity of burnout is now being realized whereas, in the past, it would most likely have been overlooked. As people become more conscious of their overall well-being, they have realized the importance of a healthy and rewarding workplace.
“Brainwork takes more of a toll on you than physical work,” 10th Grade Counselor Dominique Joseph said. “Think of your academics as a marathon, not a race. You have to go at your own pace.”
In an attempt to lower stress levels among students at CCHS, guidance counselors have tried to balance each student’s schedule by not loading all AP classes onto one day. Having a day loaded with rigorous coursework and no break is strenuous on the mind. Achieving a balance in challenging and elective classes is thought to be among the beginning steps to preventing burnouts from being so common.
“Don’t forget to live in the moment,” Lilly said. “Give yourself the gift of being present.”
Photo by The Lariat Photography