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28/03/2013

Many Working Undergraduate Students suffer from burnout- New Report shows.

These days, many students have enrolled for parallel and evening classes in order to gain additional skills to advance their career. For many jobs, the bachelors’ degree is becoming the absolute minimum requirement. The intense routine of a working student can be a sun-up to sun-down affair, drowning out any hint of a personal life. School then becomes more of a lifestyle. It becomes all-encompassing, and depressing, according to a new report released recently.

While getting into a university alone demonstrates a degree of academic toughness, once there, even the most studious can be confronted with circumstances that lead to severe emotional and physical exhaustion. And while holding a full-time job while going to school is admirable, it does present challenges that can lead to burnout.

Isolation. Your social habits rarely extend beyond all-business interaction with co-workers and fellow students.
Although you're initially unphased by this, after months of basing your existence around work and school, it
begins to take a toll. Isolation could even lead to depression.

Financial strain. Warnings from parents and friends about how expensive university education is would have long filled your ears. Already faced with mounting debt from a bank loan or Helb loan you took, you become increasingly discouraged by the low-paying job or internship you have.

Your work collides with academic expectations. You were always a star student in high school, but those periods weren't accompanied by a full-time job. As you're discovering, 40 weekly hours spent working doesn't allow you to academically flourish like you're accustomed to.

Physical well-being has taken a back seat. As double-digit-hour work days become the norm, ingredients for a healthier lifestyle, like sleep and exercise, barely register as priorities.

How to correct.
Whether you're currently experiencing (or on the verge of) school burnout, there are measures you can take to recapture your emotional and physical strength.

1. Find a proper social outlet. Sometimes students are working so hard that they forget to go to the social events or forget to take part in any extra-curricular events in Campus. If you spend enough time alone, your isolation could veer into depression. In that case, reach out to services on campus. It would be rare or unusual to have a university that didn't have campus resources that can help.
Anyone that suffers from severe depression and suicidal thoughts should immediately see a mental health professional.

2. Tap into alternate financial resources. While your job or internships don't nearly cover your expenses, take advantage of your status as a working student. Find out what stipends, scholarships and grants are offered through your degree program. If possible, you could ask Helb to increase your loan, or ask your parents and loved ones to chip in.

3. Take courses that will accommodate your work schedule. It's commendable that you want to take the most challenging courses your university has to offer. But you must also consider how doing so will affect your job. Many working students take demanding courses, only to find that they are unable to balance between fulltime work and studies. They then resort to some form of cheating in exams, preparing ‘mwakenyas,’ or hiring the mushrooming academic writing services to write academic papers and assignments for them.  

4. Know when to call it a day. While the correlation between sleep and productivity is different for all, a consistently low number of sleep hours could catch up to you at some point. You will very much not get anything by choosing to transnight for that tough upcoming CAT. If you're going to be doing work that's very important on very low sleep, you're going to be careless.

In summary;
While one must be commended for working as well as studying, it does come with certain perils. If you perform well in class, and your productivity at work is also great, then you could kill two birds with one stone; getting additional academic skills, while getting the necessary professional work experience. However, if you fail to balance and are overwhelmed, your dream could turn upside down i.e, you may fail in exams, wasting your time, and also end up underperforming at work, and in worst cases, end up being fired. That should be an important consideration even as you prepare to become a working student.

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