Millennial Burnout

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By Agnes Sawari

This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 10 of VARSITY News.


The term “Millennials” is often considered to apply to individuals who reached adulthood around the turn of the 21st century. Millennials have grown up in an electronic-filled and increasingly online and socially-networked world. We are a generation that has received the most marketing attention. Having been raised under the mantra “follow your dreams”, millennials tend to be confident. While largely a positive trait, the Millennial generation’s confidence has been argued to spill over into a sense of entitlement and narcissism. We can’t even fathom a world without social media.


A pitfall of our generation is that we are exceptionally impatient. I say this because we want success to be instantaneous: these high expectations oftentimes result in our demise. Millennial burnout takes place when we have put far too much on our plate and we crash.



UCT students experience pressure to keep up with not only their courses but additional courses/skills too – striving constantly to achieve. Understandably, this is not the case for all, but it certainly is for most. A crucial thing that most students fail to prioritize is their wellbeing, mental health and physical health. As a result, the use and abuse of self-destructive recreational substances as a coping mechanism has become more and more popular.


The following are five steps a UCT student (or any student) could take when they feel the pressure become increasingly unbearable. The solution is REBOOT.


The first step is RELAX: Identify your favorite and most relaxing activity. This doesn’t have to be expensive. It could be a picnic, sitting by yourself by a local bar or café, a spontaneous beach day or a spa day. This should help you unwind, take time not to think about all that you need to get done and instead focus your mind on positive things. Reflect on the blessings in your life.



Eliminate: This involves creating a list of things you need to get done and then you need to erase anything that is unnecessary on your to-do list. This will also involve putting your priorities at the top of the list.


Backup and bounce back: This can be applied both metaphorically and literally. It is crucial to always, always, back up your work. It’s amazing the number of times you hear any student crying over how they lost their work. Make sure you have done everything within your power to avoid this unnecessary setback.


Organization, organization: The two most important O’s. Research shows that being organized contributes significantly to both our physical and mental health. It gives us a sense of control over everything happening around us. If you do not have a diary or notebook to note your timetable or to-do list, then I strongly suggest you do so.


Think: Don’t just work hard but work smart. Think; reflect on your end goal. This is important when you start to feel discouraged. Working hard is chasing the deadline – working smart is knowing how long you’ll need to work and giving yourself enough time to make a set deadline. Working hard is cracking out work at a constant rate where mistakes and exhaustion are bound to happen – working smart is planning your life so you even have free time to yourself.


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