May 24, 2024 (10:18 PM)

5 min read


Graphic by Elliot Dimasuhid

Kadaghan ba ani? Kapoy na. Tama na!

As Ateneans approach the end of the semester, these words have probably been said more times than ever. Slowly, every task given feels like a rock placed on our shoulders that keeps on getting heavier and heavier as our workload as students increase and the deadlines get nearer. However, we have not only heard these words this time around but also since the beginning of the semester.

From private conversations with friends to anonymous pages, Ateneans have already expressed their kakapoy and how tired they are from all their responsibilities.

While it has been quite some time since we got over the COVID-19 pandemic, post-pandemic adjustments have possibly caused another epidemic: burnout. In a study conducted by Deloitte, burnout in the workplace has been on the rise for Gen Zs and millennials post-pandemic due to heavier workloads. On the other hand, multiple studies have also shown evidence that academic burnout has been prevalent among Filipino students.

Burnout is more than tiredness. It is the feeling of exhaustion caused by various factors, such as workplace and academic responsibilities, that pile up, affecting a person not just mentally but also physically and emotionally. Burnout leaves a person feeling drained as if their batteries just ran out.

While burnout is neither an official diagnosis nor an actual disorder, it is a concern that should be looked after, especially because it can affect one’s performance. A straight-A student, a competent and passionate student leader, and a hardworking employee may all be unproductive individuals once hit by burnout.

Kadaghan Ba Ani: Causes of Burnout

Burnout among students is caused by various external and internal factors, according to a study by Lin and Yang (2021). Some significant external factors include heavy study loads and academic pressure.

For the past two years, Ateneans have been under different kinds of academic setups. From 2020 to the first half of 2022, everything was fully online. Then, by 2022 to the first half of 2023, we entered a hybrid setup wherein some students began to have classes in physical classrooms. This academic year, we were introduced to a new, full face-to-face setup, which meant that every Atenean had to readjust again from the hybrid setup. 

With the change of setup also comes a change in workload. One advantage of the online setup was we could do some tasks simultaneously, thanks to digital platforms. Asynchronous classes have helped students perform their tasks efficiently at their own pace. However, time management would be a student’s best friend in the face-to-face classroom setup. Since students now have to spend ample time per week in classrooms while working on assignments and participating in extracurricular activities, students become more susceptible to experiencing burnout. Tasks have become so heavy that students feel overwhelmed and drained. 

When looking at the list of things they need to do, all a student can say is, “Kadaghan ba ani?”

Kapoy Na: What Burnout Can Do

As mentioned, burnout is more than mere tiredness. It is normal to get tired of certain activities. Reading dozens of chapters, memorizing multiple sets of formulas, searching for related literatures and such tasks are tiring. What is student life anyway if you don’t feel tired? 

However, burnout severely affects productivity. When experiencing burnout, you are unable to function optimally. You would not have the energy to work on even the simplest tasks. It also manifests physically and emotionally. You may end up neglecting yourself and your well-being, affecting your relationships with other people.

The World Health Organization (WHO) labels burnout as an “occupational phenomenon”, meaning that its effects are usually limited in the context of a workplace or in the case of students, a university. However, once unmanaged, it could also lead to more concerning mental health issues, such as depression, leaving one to sigh, “kapoy na.”

Tama Na: What Can Be Done

Inside the head of a student burdened by burnout, they might have tried convincing themselves to stop thinking about it, saying the words “Tama na” repeatedly.

I remember one of my professors telling us in class that “laban lang” is not the most appropriate advice to someone when they are struggling. It only pushes the idea that they aren’t exerting enough effort hence we tell them to fight the problem. Rather, we tell people “padayon,” to continue striving despite the hardships. Amidst the burnout, we tell people to “padayon,” because they have already done their best, and all they need is to push through.

But of course, the solution to burnout does not only lie in the hands of the students. An institution that provides platforms for social support lessens the risk of burnout. More than a person’s self-awareness of their problems, burnout, and other mental health concerns require the efforts of the university, the professors, and the efforts of everyone in creating a healthy environment for everyone.

Soon, all the “kadaghan ba,” “kakapoy na,” “tama na,” will turn into “salamat human na.”

This article was published in the April 2024 Tabloid Issue of Atenews. Read it here:

End the silence of the gagged!

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