Online learning causes academic burnout in students


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.

Students are feeling more academic burnout during the online learning period.

Natalie Navarro, Assistant Opinion Editor

For many students, college is a time where they learn to balance coursework with real-life responsibilities.

Many begin to live independently and/or take on extracurriculars that were not offered to them before. Additionally, students are subjected to rigorous coursework, which often requires a shift in time management to dedicate sufficient time for school. 

The struggle to maintain structure during an in-person setting was difficult enough; however, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has thrown whatever skills we had out the window. The struggle to maintain balance has somehow worsened and is causing academic burnout. 

With the current school year being online, it seems like students have been given more responsibility compared to in-person classes. For most courses, it feels as though professors are giving heavier workloads because students no longer have to factor in commuting to school.

Especially with the mixture of multiple asynchronous courses, students are now burdened with teaching themselves entire subjects along with studying to sustain their learned knowledge. 

I am currently enrolled in six courses, with two of them being asynchronous. Around half of my classes are heavily writing-based, which requires me to spend an average of three hours a day on writing alone. This does not factor in my Zoom meetings, other assignments or daily life responsibilities. Weekends are pretty much the same, only without the mandatory Zoom classes. 

I seem to struggle more each week because it is almost impossible to build structure when there is none to begin with. Several of my friends feel this work slump as well, and acknowledge that it will worsen with time. 

Truthfully, I find my academic burnout disturbing because I am as privileged as they come. I have the luxury to depend on my parents for everything. I understand that this is not the same for everyone. 

I cannot imagine how much harder online school is for those who work and have a family to take care of. 

Admittedly, there is a demographic of students that excel in distance learning and prefer it to in-person. These students have a special patience that many do not have. 

However, for most students, the system that has been used for the past year is definitely not working. Before the term even started, the university should have taken the time to listen to students’ concerns about life management. Although students roughly estimate their weekly schedules during enrollment, it is not an accurate representation of what schedules look like in their time. 

It feels pointless to make this argument now though, as we are expecting to make at least a partial return to campus next fall. 

With us already being far into the semester, there is no real way to prevent our feelings of exhaustion. We just have to push on through to the end of the term. 

There is hope though: in-person classes will mitigate the responsibilities of educating ourselves, while also providing a sense of structure into our lives. Hopefully, students’ burnout in the fall semester will not be as prominent as it is now. 

Natalie Navarro is an Assistant Opinion Editor for The Cougar Chronicle. She is a sophomore at CSUSM as a literature and writing major, as well as a theatre minor. After graduating, Natalie plans to further her education and become a teacher. She loves to read and play with her dogs.