Sunday, 24 June 2012

Like a little piece of charcoal

I woke up on Monday with so much dread for the week ahead and the work required that it suddenly came to as I was lying in bed: I am burnt out. On the one hand, that's horrible and means that I have no energy to do any work at all. But on the other hand, it's greatly relieving. It means I'm not lazy and useless, it's not all my fault that I haven't done enough work, it's just that I've done so much work and been so stressed for the exams in January and May that I just don't have enough energy left to keep going.

It felt so good to put a name on how horrendous I've been feeling about this exam and having to work for it. Burnout is a recognised concept, and a friend of mine had it after the January exams. I contacted her on Monday and she gave me some advice, including: get away from everything, go for a run even if you don't like running (which I did, briefly), burnout usually means you've done enough work already (yes, I did enough work in May, but unfortunately not for this re-take), to go easy on yourself (definitely), and to make a list of all your achievements, to push you on through this last one. I like that list of achievements idea - I haven't done it, but I have been thinking a little more about good things I've done, and that this re-take is really just to put the cherry on the cake. Except you can't have the cake without the cherry on, it is essential.

I realised that if I don't have enough energy to keep working through this revision period to the exam (which I don't), then the solution is to use other people's energy. Leech off them to get me through it, and work with others.

Which is what I've been doing. The only self-directed work I've done alone all week is to listen to a few podcasts whilst out walking places. So far, so good. Boo for burnout, but massive hooray for recognising it and getting through it.

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