Seasonal Depression and Burnout


Annita Yang, Reporter

When the season changes, students and staff are expected to adjust to the second quarter, and many students find themselves struggling to transition.

Though acknowledging the students who are struggling with schoolwork is important, there are also students who have not dealt with seasonal depression or academic burnout. It only takes a small mishap to set off a domino effect. 

Student and staff behaviors change while the school year progresses, due to burnout. The lack of energy impacts social interactions, and the quality of one’s workload. Data from the 2022 Gallup Poll on occupational burnout showed a result of 44 percent of teachers in K-12 education feel burned out at work.

English teacher Mrs. Hannah Brockman said there is a rise of apathy among the students when the weather changes. Mrs. Brockman said there is more reluctance from her students when she instructs her classes. Along with apathy, there is a lack of enthusiasm, and participation from students.

Taking the time to acknowledge the issue is important, but there is no clear step of what to do to help counteract burnout. On top of students being tired, teachers and staff members are tired as they arrive when it is still dark in the morning. “Teachers struggle with it too,” said Mrs. Brockman.

Sophomore Angie Stienke said missing assignments do pile up overtime. Reluctantly, she admits, she must finish the assignments to meet the requirements of a passing grade in her classes. The issue with this reluctance means the quality for completed late work is not the best.

There are factors that must be taken into consideration regarding the small mishap that sets off a person into burnout includes work, home life, and meeting high expectations from school.

Receiving homework the night of being scheduled for work, forces students to plan their time wisely. Stienke said work affects her meeting deadlines due to her working on the night of an assignment’s deadline. 

One may argue that deadlines are deadlines, and the school can not comply with each person’s schedule—but students and teachers are struggling because of many outside factors.

Stienke said communicating with teachers will benefit those who are struggling. “As long as you approach teachers with respect, they usually are sympathetic,” Stienke said.

Stress levels are high as 80 percent of students report, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. The complications of burnout and seasonal depression constrains a person from communicating their stress. Stienke said a student should communicate their stress regardless.

Social Studies teacher Ms. Bree Sandquist said students should reach out to a safe adult or guardian for help. Finding a trusted person to receive help may lower the pressure of stress on a person. 

Identifying whether the cause of burnout or seasonal depression is difficult as the cause could be from outside factors. In fact, 35 percent of students reported feeling depression according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

Ms. Sandquist said the struggles may come from school starting, the pressure of school opening up, or simply the season changing. The pandemic has quieted down but may have caused disarray in students and staff when opening the school with great expectations.

Ms. Sandquist added that many students are applying for colleges and scholarships, which may tie into feeling overwhelmed. Other factors like time management, work, and the lack of balance affects students. Teachers should “come from a place of understanding,” and be empathetic to students, she said.

Senior Touly Yang feels the weight of college as he said, “Life after high school is a scary thought because my life will be determined by college.” Though some students may not be interested in college or have settled on a career path—there are plenty of students who are uncertain of their future after high school. 

Some students do not know what to talk about because of their unknown plans for college. Yang said he understands talking to his counselor to help with the burnout and stress will benefit him. With much uncertainty about life after high school, the struggles of being unable to talk to their counselor seems unethical since students do not have a clear idea of what they wish to do once they graduate.

Burnout is an issue that affects staff and students. People may possibly see their moods or energy levels change when the season changes or when they are under high pressure.