The definition of ‘Burnt Out’ denotated by the Oxford Dictionary describes the concept as follows:  “[To] ruin one’s health or become completely exhausted through overwork”. I wouldn’t say that this is a rare phenomenon that is experienced by the best of us in high school and various stages in our lives.



What do people mean by getting ‘burnt out’?


I asked my year 10 science teacher, ‘what do people mean by getting burnt out?’ two times when I was in his class. I don’t know why I asked him the second time round, but he responded the same way both times. He explained getting burnt out as a concept of working too hard without having any balance to your life. 




Balance refers to the perfect combination of education as well as extracurricular and leisure activities. Having too much of one can result in, I wouldn’t say addiction but I would say being too engrossed in those types of activities that you end up forgetting to either take a break or be productive when you need to. For instance, you study too much that you have zero social life and ‘no time’ to hang out with friends, play sport and relax.


Many students and even parents in fact have a fixed mindset on studies being the only thing you should be doing in your schooling years because it is essential for shaping your future. This isn’t a wrong way of thinking but it risks the student being burnt out because nothing else but their education is important. I know of some friends where this thinking did help them in spurring them on to achieve fantastic results but I also know some of them have very little social skills and inability to handle challenges in the real-world. Achieving the perfect balance of both education, social life, extra-curricular and leisure activities is key in being a well-rounded student and valuable character as it provides experience with both academic ability and interpersonal skills.


How do I not get burnt out?


The cliché, ‘it’s easier said than done’ does not apply in this sort of circumstance unless a limiting belief or your parents impose that studies is the single most important thing that you should be focusing on and nothing else matters. If you can change that way of thinking then I can’t help you there but if you can weave a bit of balance in there, it could potentially work wonders.

In order not to get burnt out the simple solution is to have a balance. Make sure you spend time on your academics but don’t turn a blind eye to your friends and leisure activities like sport, music, theatre productions etc. Try and be as involved as possible as you can so you don’t get ‘overwork[ed]’ as stated in the definition.

My Personal Experience

When I was in year 12 (2015) I did have a good balance. I paid attention to my studies, I played competition tennis outside of school, I went for the occasional jog around the block, but yet I still managed to get burnt out half way through the year. Year 12 was a long and hard strenuous year and when you’re on the grind right from the beginning it can take its toll on your health. I found myself being overwhelmed typically because I was working a bit too hard and so in July I hit an all time low and felt consistently tired all the time. In order to change and get back on the grind, I did something that may possibly seem a little bit cheesy but I printed out motivational quotes and stuck it on one of my walls in my room so whenever I went to sleep and woke up I’d see it all the time. It was a driving factor that allowed me to keep going and finish off year 12.

I suppose what I can extract from this is that, it’s also good to have a source of inspiration; an end goal so you are constantly reminded of where you want to end up.

Key Points and Other Things

Have a balance between your commitments to your education and both extracurricular and leisure activities otherwise you’ll overwork yourself and get burnt out.

A really good friend and mentor of mine gave me some really key advice just before I started year 12. He told me to put my head down and work but go to every single party and social event there is so you have some sort of time where you can let go of your worries about school and other things. I took on his advice and I had one of the best high school years of my life. Perhaps you can do the same thing too!

Written by Himal