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Quinntessential: College burnout is real and it sucks

I conducted a tiny experiment in one of my classes out of sheer curiosity. I asked a few of my peers and one of my professors what week of the semester we were in. In case you don’t know, Ohio University is in its ninth week of the semester, and out of the 10 people I asked, only two stated the correct answer. For those interested, the professor had no idea what week we were in.

We are in the thick of the fall semester and I have found my first semester to be one of the strangest nine weeks of my life. The burnout is getting to me and many other students. We power through this rough patch after midterms but must still endure exams as we wait for the sweet relief of winter break to free us. My college experience can be described as Usain Bolt running a marathon, strong out of the gate but losing energy fast, without any idea as to how I will finish the race.

One thing that is hurting my endurance is total independence. Everyone has dreamed of the day they can do whatever they want, when they want, thinking there would be no downside to such a luxury. Yet, we forget that when we are given true independence in college, we can skip class, procrastinate or party just a bit too hard—and we all know what happens when we indulge in too much partying.

I don’t miss my high school years, but sometimes I miss waking up before the sun rises and being held accountable when I skip school or fail to turn in work on time. What replaces those wonderful amenities is a constant lack of motivation along with the constant dread of failing classes. You’re on your own, professors don’t have the time or the energy to spoon-feed you. If you don’t do your work, they have no problem failing you and charging you to retake the class.

Also, everything is about money, but you can’t solely rely on mommy and daddy’s money. It usually is all on you to make money and reasonably spend it, and I wasn’t prepared for that. Whether it be food, classes or fun, everything has a price tag, which puts more stress on the already worn-out college student.

I now feel different from the man I was a mere 9 weeks ago. I’ve learned so much, yet I’ve merely scratched the surface of how to live like a college student. I once wrote a column about how amazing procrastination is—how naive that boy was. 

There is no need to panic about my sanity, however. I will manage and I have a great support system behind me.

Quinn Elfers is a freshman studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to share your thoughts about the column? Let Quinn know by emailing him at

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