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Academic Burnout: Everything You Need to Know

Written by Anna Wang

What is Academic Burnout?

Academic burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion that is caused by prolonged stress.

Stress vs. Burnout

While burnout can be the result of stress, too much stress and burnout are not the same. Here are some differences between the two:

  • Stress: loss of energy; there is usually an end in sight; over-engagement; can be aware

  • Burnout: loss of motivation and hope; a cycle of negative emotions; dis-engagement; not always noticed


Symptoms of academic burnout are much more than just feeling tired. It can cause problems such as depression and insomnia, which is why it is important to take steps to recovery as soon as you spot these symptoms in yourself or others.

Some symptoms of academic burnout are:

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Increased irritability and lashing out at others

  • Lack of motivation to attend classes or start assignments

  • Poor concentration and focus

  • Lacking creativity to bring to projects

  • Inability to meet deadlines