Thanksgiving Burnout

A driven student studying in an empty classroom, Sept. 30, 2019.

I’m tired. I’m sure in some sense, you are too. It’s a week back into our trudge toward the end and I don’t feel any more refreshed or light than when I left for Thanksgiving break. In fact, I feel substantially less motivated to work toward a strong finish of the semester. I feel deflated. Thanksgiving break was a tease; my focus has drifted and I long for the days where I sleep until my stomach directs me out of bed toward a rampage on my fully-stocked kitchen. When I got back and opened the fridge in my apartment to only a Monster Energy drink and an old milkshake, I nearly dropped out.

Ever since I came back from our little break, I’ve been experiencing post-Thanksgiving break burnout. This phenomenon that I just made up now seems to be afflicting others besides myself. I spoke with Savanah Greenwald, a junior  graphic design major, about her experience during her first week back from break.

“After break, it’s been hard to come back and just get back into the swing of things,” Greenwald said. “I just feel really overwhelmed about all the things I have to do to finish the semester. I didn’t want to come back; I just wanted to be on break. It doesn’t feel necessary to come back for two weeks and yet here we are.” 

Despite somewhat making it up, it is my opinion that post-Thanksgiving burnout is a real thing. I think Thanksgiving break is supposed to be like an appetizer at a nice restaurant; it’s meant to make you a little hungrier and excited for the main course, but if my main course takes more than an hour, I think I’m going to grab a slice of pizza from across the street. I’m not sure if my analogies are even making sense anymore; blame it on the burnout.

It might not be the case for everyone, but this break felt long overdue for me, and as soon as it began I did not want to look back. And you wanted me to get work done during it as well? Consequently, I hardly did the work I was supposed to. Apparently, neither did Greenwald.

“I definitely didn’t get as much work done as I wanted to. You can barely consider it a break since your professors still keep so many expectations of you,” she said.

Thanksgiving break seems to me to be the great demotivator; I find myself struggling to wake up for classes again and rethinking the purpose of it all. It disrupted all momentum that I had gained over the course of the semester and now I’m inching towards the end of it like a sad snail.

Do I actually have a solution? No; blame it on the burnout. I am just a whining baby who spent nine days, which felt like months, in the serene and still comfort of a maternal bubble separated from reality. I have since emerged into the light, crying and confused, feeling like I am learning again for the first time.

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