I’ve been watching a lot of lectures about education lately, and there’s a common theme to answer a common question: How can I keep myself from burning out?
The answer is always a variation of “work harder” or “work smarter.”
This, I’m afraid, is simply insufficient. There is no amount of working harder or working smarter that can make the work we’re doing any less exhausting–and this applies to all areas, whether you’re a student, a teacher, healthcare provider, or something else.
There are still 111 days until the semester ends and already I feel defeated.
I’m scouring my mind for words to elaborate, but that line seems to say everything I can muster at the moment. I came in anxious, and the first week assuaged some of my stress; then things picked up a little in the second week, and though I can honestly say I’ve had a few great accomplishments and some greater experiences since the semester began only eleven days ago, I sit here with the sad realization I already feel defeated.
Where did I go wrong? When did my plans fall apart?
Exhaustion is the theme this semester. Actually, “exhaustion” is not a theme. “Exhaustion” is a topic. It would be much more appropriate to say that “Intense schedules lead to overwhelming exhaustion” is a theme since themes must be complete sentences that communicate a message to the consumer. By “consumer,” I here mean any readers, watchers, observers, et cetera, that observe a piece wherein some creator intended some deeper meaning. That’s theme.
I mentioned in my last post that I’ve felt exhausted a lot lately. I had hoped this weekend–my second foray into the world of the National Association of Campus Activities, where I got to meet Zach Wahls (!!!), attend live group sex therapy, and had “Bazinga” airbrushed onto a hat–would rejuvenate me, but…well, at least the comedian was uplifting. Laughter does inspire. And live music is like imbibing poetry to regurgitate later. But the overall effect was not as I had hoped for.
I’m at a loss for words. It’s not because I have nothing to say–there’s always something to say, and it’s the obligation of the artist to say anything in the most elegant way just because he can–but because I have no energy with which to say it.
It’s a strange concept. Yellow wallpaper and casks of Amontillado and roses make me weary with words and passages on past events elude me entirely. Heroes converse daily, and creation occurs now in its place. From driven snow to western apocalypses and fallen angels and odd-ball superheroes to clones with no memories.
I said my mind is chaos. And these are only my homework assignments.