Overloading your schedule causes burnout (Commentary)

Students should rethink their schedule for the upcoming school year to make sure that they immerse themselves into activites they actually want to do


Mason Thompson

AP classes, sports, putting aside time for friends and family—sometimes, it’s all a little too much all at once

You’re sitting in the counselor’s office, and she asks you to go over the next year’s classes that you have signed up for. She’s reading everything back to you, and you’re trying to ask if you can cut your classes short or if you should change them to some more difficult ones— or if the burnout of the past three years is a valid enough reason for you to only take the bare minimum amount of classes needed to fulfill the graduation requirements? 

It’s been drilled into your brain that you need to push yourself— to challenge yourself with classes and extracurriculars so that you are prepared for your future after high school, but you’re so exhausted that the thought of keeping up with your busy schedule into your last year seems beyond daunting. 

Every day, you’ve gotten up extremely early to make sure that you have everything ready for the day—three different sets of clothes for the numerous activities that you have to partake in. Your backpack is full of the homework that you have yet to finish because you fell asleep (after only closing your eyes for a second) sitting up the night before. And don’t forget to grab some snacks if you remember to eat throughout the day while you’re running around. 

For so many months you have packed your whole day with so many plans to the point where you’re not even sure if everything is going to fit because there are only so many hours you can fill. 

You’ve seen your older sibling go through school and get that gold star on all of their assignments, and you’re barely getting by trying to understand how you are supposed to sound smart in an essay without looking up “synonyms for”—or “how to math” because excuse me, but who decided that numbers AND letters were a good idea?

But at the same time, you can’t get anything lower than a B in a class, yet  you’re hoping that the test you just flunked didn’t bring you down too many percentage points. Do you even understand what is going on in that class though? Or are you inattentive and nodding your head hoping that one day you’ll absorb the material.

You attend numerous practices beyond the required team practices, going to lessons that cost your parents a fortune every week because you want to have that good work ethic. You have to put in extra work every day to make sure you keep up with everyone and better your chances for maybe getting some money in college when you’re not even sure if you want to go in that direction. You don’t want to give up on your passion and let down everyone that sees how much joy it brings you. 

Your minimum wage job hardly gives you enough money to pay for rising gas prices in one week, yet you still have to go and put a smile on your face because you need to create a welcoming environment for the customers. You want to make sure they come back in again, don’t you? 

Ever since you were a little kid, you’ve watched your parents go to work every day and bust their butt to give you what you want in life, and it makes you question if you’re giving enough back to them or if you’re doing enough around the house to repay them for loving you and always being there. Vacuuming the stairs and doing the dishes a couple of times isn’t going to amount to any of what they’ve done for you. 

And you try to make time for everyone else in your life that is so very dear to you. Your friends—and the person that you’ve had the hots for for months, but you still feel like you’re not doing enough for them. So try to fit that into your schedule. 

Now, who told you that it was necessary to overload your schedule this much and to this extent? The sad reality is, no one directly said anything to you. But it adds up from all of your ambient surroundings, the ones that are constantly poking at you and telling you to do more, to be more like that other person, to please someone else’s standards. 

When are you going to let yourself breathe a little? We all learned in health class about the birds and the bees, but wasn’t there something in there about how the human body needs oxygen? Or maybe that was a science class—anatomy— or physiology? Who knows. 

I always fell off any obstacle that required balancing when I was in elementary school, but when it comes to your life and what is going to make you happy in the long run, you might want to reconsider.