Editorial

Are we at risk of burning out when returning to university?

student writing on computer could lead to burn out
Students returning to university could find the transition period incredibly stressful after months of no work. Source: StartupStockPhotos (via Pixabay)
As students return to university after lockdown, there is a concern they will find the year ahead incredibly stressful and will burn out due to months of no structure and no work.

By Tirion Davies | Editor-in-Chief

For many of us, we’ve spent months without any university work. Some of us submitted our final essays at the end of May and have had barely any work to do since.

It’s always hard to return to university after a long period of holiday, yet this year has taken it to the extreme. With nowhere to go for months, students have spent the majority of their days without much structure and with hardly anything to do.

The worry for many is that returning to universities will be a complicated transition, as although structure will return to the lives of many students, few will be able to return to lectures and seminars as normal. Without the face-to-face teaching of previous years, there is a concern that students will find the year ahead incredibly stressful and will burn out.

Some students are likely to have lost a lot of motivation during this period, and not having to physically attend lectures and seminars could make many reluctant to be as motivated as in past years. As a result, many could be leaving their work until the last minute, leading to a potential burn out. 

Students are of course prone to stress even without a looming pandemic. With essays due week to week, balancing a job, and students hoping to attain the highest marks, it’s no wonder many of us find ourselves exhausted.

According to a Mind UK 2019 survey of 38,000 students, 21.5% had a current mental health diagnosis, and 33.9% had experienced serious mental health concerns like a burn out, for which they felt they needed professional help.

Mind UK reported that even amongst students without a current mental health problem, wellbeing scores are lower in universities than among the general population. With mental health diagnoses high amongst students in universities, it’s no wonder stress and anxiety can negatively impact students and cause many to burn out.

So, what happens when universities start again?

There’s enough anxious energy in the world at the moment with the ever-changing guidelines on what we can and can’t do in relation to the current COVID-19 pandemic and returning to university.

Without having had the routine of university work for months, it can be easy for students to find themselves quickly overworked as they try to readjust to university life. It may seem no different than a summer holiday of no routine and no work, but with tensions already high due to the ongoing pandemic, worrying can cause students to burn out quickly because they already have a lot on their minds. 

As in-person teaching becomes rare, some students may feel they are falling behind and may find it difficult to reach out to lecturers and personal tutors, further aggravating their stress and worry.

Cardiff University and Cardiff Students’ Union are doing their best to ensure students feel supported over the coming Autumn term, ensuring students who are in need will have access to student advice and counselling teams.

That’s not to say students will definitely face a burn out, but the probability is arguably higher under these already trying times.

During this time, it’s important to look after your physical health, but students must be vigilant of their mental health so that they are staying happy and healthy. 


Mae nifer ohonom ni wedi gwario misoedd heb orfod gwneud gwaith prifysgol. Bu nifer ohonom yn cyflawni’r darn o waith olaf yng nghanol Mai, a heb wneud lawer neu ddim gwaith prifysgol ers hynny.

Anodd yw hi pob flwyddyn i ddychwelyd i’r brifysgol ar ôl gyfnod hir o wyliau, ond bu eleni yn enghraifft o’r eithaf. Heb gyfle i adael y tŷ am fisoedd, mae nifer o fyfyrwyr wedi gwario’r cyfnod hwn heb lawer o strwythur, a heb ryw lawer i’w wneud.

I nifer, bydd ddychwelyd i’r brifysgol yn gyfnod dryslyd, gan er bu nifer yn dychwelyd i strwythur arferol prifysgol, ni fydd lawer o seminarau a darlithoedd yn cymryd lle fel yr oeddynt lynedd. Heb lawer o gyfle i gael dysgu personol, mae’r ymdeimlad y bydd myfyrwyr yn weld y flwyddyn o’u blaen fel un gyda llawer o straen.

Mae’n siŵr bod myfyrwyr wedi colli lawer o gymhelliant yn ystod y pandemig, a heb seminar a darlithoedd corfforol i’w fynychu, gall gymhelliant gostwng yn fwy. O ganlyniad, gall rhai gadael eu gwaith tan y funud olaf, gall arwain at fwy o bwysau gwaith.

Wrth gwrs, mae myfyrwyr yn debygol o fod dan bwysau hyd yn oed heb y pandemig coronafeirws. Gan fod traethodau fod mewn yn wythnosol, bod rhaid i nifer ffeindio swydd, a bod pawb yn ceisio derbyn marciau uchel, wrth gwrs bod pwysau gwaith arnom.

Yn ôl arolwg gan Mind yn 2019, bu gan 21.5% o fyfyrwyr yr arolwg diagnosis iechyd meddwl, a bu 33.9% wedi delio gyda phroblemau iechyd meddwl lle teimlon nhw fod angen cymorth ychwanegol gan gwnseler.

Sonnir yr arolwg bod ffigurau iechyd meddwl yn is ymysg myfyrwyr prifysgol nag yn weddill y boblogaeth, hyd yn oed ymysg y myfyrwyr heb ddiagnosis problem iechyd meddwl. Gyda phroblemau iechyd meddwl mor amlwg ymysg yr ifanc ym mhrifysgol, wrth gwrs bod nifer yn darganfod eu bod yn flinedig trwy’r adeg.

Ond be fydd yn digwydd pan bod pawb yn dychwelyd i’r brifysgol?

Ceir digon o bwysau yn y byd ar hyn o’r bryd, yn enwedig wrth nodi’r newidiadau aml sydd o gwmpas y rheolau COVID-19 wrth ddychwelyd i’r brifysgol.

Heb y strwythur o waith brifysgol am fisoedd, gall bod yn hawdd i fyfyrwyr gweld eu hun wedi’i orweithio yn gyflym tra bod nhw’n ceisio symud nôl i fywyd fel myfyrwyr. Er gall y cyfnod cael ei hystyried fel cyfnod gwyliau, gan fod tensiynau barod yn uchel oherwydd y pandemig, bydd myfyrwyr sy’n poeni yn gweld fwy o risg o fod dan fwy o bwysau gan fod barod lot yn chwarae ar eu meddyliau.

Wrth fod dysgu corfforol yn dod yn llai aml, mae’n siŵr bydd rhai yn teimlo’u bod yn colli ffocws ac yn teimlo fel ni allan nhw ofyn am gymorth gan eu tiwtoriaid personol, gall waethygu eu pryder.

Mae Prifysgol Caerdydd a’r Undeb Myfyrwyr yn gweithio’n galed i sicrhau bod gan fyfyrwyr cymorth dros y tymor nesaf.

Wrth gwrs, ni fydd pob un myfyriwr yn gweld bod eu pryder yn gwaethygu, ond mae’r amgylchiadau’n meddwl bydd gor-bryder yn broblem fwy amlwg ymysg yr ifanc.

Mae’n pwysig edrych ar ôl eich iechyd corfforol dros cyfnod y pandemig, ond bydd rhaid ichi hefyd sicrhau eich bod yn edrych ar ôl eich iechyd meddyliol.

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