People Who've Run Away To Start A New Life Reveal Why They Had To Leave
Move over bankruptcy and name changes. These people made themselves vanish in order to start over. But why, and how? Were they successful? Here are some fascinating tales from people who left it all to begin anew.
PatientStick asked, [Serious] People who disappeared to start a new life, what is your story?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
Working on a yacht in Tahiti? Living the dream, he is.
Currently disappearing. Got bored in the USA so I looked around for jobs on boats/yachts. I went from alcoholic construction worker to currently a deckhand on a private yacht circumnavigating the globe.
We're currently on our way to Tahiti and I'm excited.
Bail out now, tell everyone later. It's okay to focus on you.
I didn't really disappear, I just flew from the UK to Canada and didn't tell anyone until after.
I wanted a bit of time to make my mind up about what I was doing without any random emotional s*** getting in the way. My friends assumed I'd just f***ed off somewhere as it wasn't that uncommon for me to do.
Told most people where I was after about a month and 6 years later I'm still here.
Some bridges need to be burned.
Father started dating a new woman and suddenly became a massive POS. Emotional and verbal abuse, gaslighting, guilting me out of money by saying he couldn't make bills but then turning around and buying alcohol and new gadgets.. the works. I was stomaching it pretty well until it started to spread to my then 1.5-year-old son. There was one and only one incident of him going after my baby, and the very next day I was loading up a moving truck headed several states away. Thankfully I had made a good friend via an online game who opened up his home to us if we needed to escape.
Changed my number and haven't heard from my father or his gf since, though I was warned by the town sheriff that a man had been calling the police station asking about a girl from out of state that has recently moved into town, he saw my license plate and made the connection. I'll burn that bridge when I get to it.
It takes a lot of strength to do this. You don't need to stay in toxic relationships.
Here's the story. Was with someone who was emotionally abusive toward me. I let them isolate me from friends and family, moved across the country, gave up a lot to be with her. Married her, but I realized that things would likely never improve. One day I packed everything I could into a suitcase, told her it was over. I walked to the train station, got to the airport, called the police to let them know they had a potentiality suicidal person that they ought to check on and flew back home. I felt bad about it, but I'm an exponentially happier and healthier person for it.
Follow your instincts if they tell you to change your circumstances. It's not easy, but you don't get many chances happiness. Take them.
Basic breakup story I guess. I was in my early 20's and I'd been in a pretty lousy relationship for a few years (only really lousy the last 1.5 years). I'd done a lot to try and make the relationship work and it meant I was basically living paycheck to paycheck, working a lot of overtime at a bar.
Then in the space of a few months both my aunt died of cancer that was kind of expected and a family friend died suddenly, so I got in a worse place mentally and didn't have much left to put into the relationship. I was still working a lot of hours to pay our rent, but when I got home I was pretty depressed. My girlfriend was probably already pretty checked out I guess because she cheated pretty soon with a guy in our friendship group, and of course, that ended our relationship pretty suddenly. I moved in with 2 friends and she moved back to her parents.
I felt like I needed a change of scene so just started applying for jobs with loads of holiday companies and got an interview with a ferry company. By the time that came up, I was starting to move on with my life and wasn't so sure about leaving. Then I found out my ex had slept with or hit on pretty much all of my mates since we'd broken up and I decided to get out of dodge.
I never actually meant to leave and not come back or go dark or whatever. I just took the job, spent a summer working on ferries to clear my head with new people, out of all that craziness and went from there. Spent a couple of years working holiday seasons and traveling and then settled into a job and a routine elsewhere. Never looked back.
Changing your name is extreme, but it can provide closure, protection, and a fresh start.
Highly abusive family, grew up surprisingly well but absolutely bombed out of life when I turned 18. Finally got the guts up and saved a scant of money to change my name and get out of the state I lived in. Still struggling a lot, and I live in constant fear that someone will find me, but I can live a half decent life now. Still lots of psychological issues as a result of long-term traumas, but I'm on my own now and its the biggest relief
EDIT Thank you all for your support! Changing my name wasn't too tricky, I had to go in for a meeting with a Justice of Peace, and there was a fair fee (I didn't have a birth certificate because my family refused to hand it over). I was given an identity document that day and was posted my new birth certificate a week later.
This is pretty dramatic, actually.
Nothing dramatic. I left home at 16 homeless for a few months, lived with a Gf's family for a couple of years. Mum told the family that I'd stolen money so they cut all ties with me (I hadn't, my mums an arse). I stopped contacting friends because I was dirt poor and couldn't afford a phone.
Three years after I left I started using my first name (in Muslim culture every guy is bloody named Mohamed so we used my middle name for my early life). I moved to a new town newly single, got my dream job and made new friends, got in touch with the old ones and got on with my new life.
Unfortunately homophobia is still rampant in rural America.
I grew up in a tiny semi-isolated American town I'm going to refer to as Hell. I hated the place. I was bullied from the minute we moved there until the minute I left. I was above the level of the high school classes by my freshman year, but -- isolated. No other school. I've got no issue with my parents, but the majority of my extended family is extremely homophobic and would probably disown me if they didn't depend on my dad for money. I was basically just trying to hold it together until I graduated.
When I was 15, I applied to be a foreign exchange student (basically just out of desperation to get out of Hell). Left a few days after I turned 16. I was popular in my new school, I was much less of an angry person when I wasn't getting screamed at all day five days a week, it was just so much better. I was doing college applications by the end of my year there and just realized there was no way I could ever go back. I ended up going to the UK to study law. I was still getting harassed online by people from Hell, so I started going by my middle name. I'm doing alright now though.
I guess I didn't truly "disappear" because some people know where I am, but I'd basically started over twice in two different countries by the time I turned 18. I have trouble with the idea of staying in one place and my mom has to talk me out of moving every time things don't go perfectly smoothly, but I'm sure I'm a lot better of a person than I would have been if I'd stayed.
This is why we celebrate Mother's Day.
When my sister and I were young, my mom was engaged to an abusive man. One morning she dropped us off at school and said this would be our last day, make sure you say goodbye to your friends.
When she picked us up from school, we went directly to the airport and flew to California to live with some family. At the time we'd been living in Michigan.
Racism is a plague and needs to be stopped.
At 17 I had started to date my now current boyfriend of almost 6 years. It was the end of his senior year / my junior year.
-backstory- My mother is 28 years younger than my father and she left him when I was in 7th grade. My father somehow got custody. Story for another time I suppose.
Father is old, born in 1943 old. So he's also a racist. After mom split I went to school and then came home and did nothing. No summer plans, no friends, no after-school activities.
Somehow a friend of S.O. Had posted a picture of us together on Fb and my little brother got wind of it and my dad kicked me out about 2 months before I turned 18 because my boyfriend is black and I am white. I showed the school messages of him threatening to kill me and bf if he ever saw either of us. Cops got involved and deemed that I had to return to my father's house until I was 18. I obviously didn't die, made it through the last three weeks of school, attended my graduation that he wouldn't show up to and never went back. Haven't seen or heard from him or anyone from high school since. There are many more complicated details but that's the gist.
I now hold a stable job since I graduated high school, waited a year and saved up at bfs parents house, then we got our own apartment, our own car, we live frugally and save as much as we can and live comfortably below our means. We both went back to college two years ago and attend part-time because we both work 32 hours a week and I like to think that my f_cked up 'childhood' is pretty far behind me and that I'm adulting really well despite my odds.
It's not selfish to leave if your partner is beyond reproach. It is however important to help as much as they'll let you.
I left someone who regularly threatened suicide, best decision I ever made.
Addiction is a nasty disease, and in Mexico, the cartels are ruthless.
15 years ago I was a heavy drug user. I was 25 back then and before using drugs I had a good job and I was being paid well. My so-called best friend introduced me to drugs and while at first, I was hesitant to use them, I thought 'what the hell, what's the worst that can happen?'
Needless to say, I started using more and more and I was spending a few thousand every week on drugs. I started showing less for work until eventually I was fired. I had some money saved up so I wasn't too worried at first until my addiction took most of that money.
Since I always used the same dealer and had already given him thousand of pesos, he told me I had 'good credit' with him and he would give me some drugs but I had to pay him every week. So we did that and it worked for a while until I couldn't pay him every week. I started owing him more and more until eventually, he told me he couldn't give me anymore until I had money on me and could pay him. So one day I was really desperate and broke into his house late at night. I knew he had guns so I was very careful not to wake him up when I was breaking in. Once inside I grabbed a baseball bat he had and started beating him with it. I left him in pretty bad shape and took his money and some drugs I found. At the time I didn't know he was with a cartel so I pretty much stole from the cartel. They started looking for me and word on the street was that they wanted to kill me. So with the money I stole from the dealer I decided the best thing to do was to run away to the U.S. I didn't tell anybody, I decided to travel to the Tijuana and find a 'coyote' there who could pass me. 7 days later I was already in the US.
I left everything back home, my family, friends, memories but most important my addiction. When I made the choice to leave the country I told myself I wasn't gonna do drugs again since my life got out control since I started using drugs.
So yeah, it's been 15 years clean. I have an ok job and a great family here. I'm probably a wanted man by the cartel back in Mexico.
The only person who has control over your life is YOU.
Left my hometown of 10 years because I was ruining my life spending all my money on smoking and being a general loser.
I drove alone 3500+km to start new with no job, house, or money. I landed a job working in a remote community the day after I arrived at my destination, spent 3 months working there before I came back to society and started working in Disability.
Fast forward 5 years and I'm happily married with enough money for a deposit on a house, a new car I go to the gym 6 days a week and have traveled overseas multiple times with the love of my life.
Canadians are so classy, jeez.
I didn't "disappear" in terms of changing my identity or am doing anything secret. But I did disappear from everyone I knew from "back home" fairly suddenly.
I grew up in a medium-sized town in Canada. A fairly laid back city with a good university culture but not much to do in terms of anything else. I got sick of the cold winters, sick of the lack of culture, sick of the social negativity, sick of the lack of opportunity (Youth under/unemployment is a serious thing in Canada), etc.
Decided to move to Paris. Enrolled in a prestigious business school and got in. Within a month I said goodbye to friends, packed up my stuff and got the hell out.
I've lived in Paris, Milan, and parts of UK for the past 5 years and loving it. I'm making great money and because the £&€ is so high compared to the tanking Canadian dollar I can make investments back in Canada fairly easily.
My life is completely different compared to my life in Canada. I can travel to cool European cities very cheaply, enjoy interesting conversation with people from around the world, enjoy mild Winters, and a positive social environment where people root for each other.
One of the things I didn't like about living in Canada is that it was normal for people to try and tear each other down and talk behind people's back. I don't experience that here.
Edit: I'm still very proud to be from Canada and enjoy visiting family and friends. I wouldn't change my journey thus far for anything. But the Winters and lifestyle just weren't for me. Canada is still a great place. I don't mean to come across as trashing the country
This sounds amazing, honestly. Why be tied down in one place?
Haven't disappeared, but I tend to start a new life every few years.
I get bored where I am and want something new and different. New places, new experiences, new people, new things to learn.
I look for a new job, pack up, and move wherever it is, or someplace just to a new place without the job yet, but I prefer having the job lined up first. Sometimes overseas, sometimes within the same country. Preferably overseas whenever the opportunity arises.
Grew up moving ridiculously frequently and seeing a lot of different places. That's stuck with me.
Given that I can work anywhere, maybe I should do this. Who's in?
I was working a successful corporate job straight out of college for several years, and not exactly struggling but not thriving either. A series of bizarre events occurred in my personal life (and within the government...) that made me realize life is too short, too random and all too often dictated by people who don't have your best interest at heart to be stuck doing something that doesn't make you happy if it's not absolutely critical to your survival.
After mulling it over for a bit, I told friends and family I was moving overseas, quit my job, tied up loose ends and got on a plane to another country with no job and a backpack full of clothing. However, I had decent savings and am accustomed to living cheaply so I wasn't entirely unprepared.
So far I've traveled to numerous countries with old friends and relative strangers met people doing things no one was doing back home, gone on beautiful hikes through mountains, swam under waterfalls, snorkeled off multiple coasts, and so many more adventures. I live in a city where I don't need a car, I've been progressing on learning a new language, I finally figured out the direction I want to go in life and am taking active steps to get there, and I feel like I've matured at least five years in the past twelve months.
There are certainly trade-offs: instability, options for job positions, and what the foreseeable future looks like, but if I had the option to redo the last year of my life, I would make the choice to leave every time.
Remember that family isn't defined by blood, and no family is better than a toxic family. Set yourself free.
My parents divorced when I was 16. It was both of their second marriage after like 18 years or something. My mother (adoptive, nonetheless) became abusive as soon as my dad left the state. So I disappeared. I went to Atlanta, Georgia by myself. I took a taxi to New York City and took a cheap $40 Chinese bus ride down to Beaufort Highway and almost immediately found a job in tech repair. Was down there for 24 months before I moved to the same state as my dad. During those 2 years, I didn't talk with anybody in my whole family. People were concerned. I didn't care. My brother went into the Navy when I was like 12 and became a juiced up meathead douche. My sister was always controlling and verbally abusive. I can't say I'd be sad if they were gone. I filed a restraining order against my mother after she kept harassing me over text, call, and email. Best decision I ever made.
People Explain Which Strange Things Are Considered Normal In Their Home Country But Weird Everywhere Else
What is in the water in the United States that compels people to walk around in their homes with their shoes on? Try doing that in South Korea––people would be so mortified. I have a sibling whose apartment is carpeted from wall to wall and who walks around inside with his shoes on all the time, tracking in any manner of dirt and dust from outside. Egad! I get chills just thinking about it. And as an American, it's something I've noticed people from other countries love to comment on.
We learned a lot more about things that are considered normal in other countries after Redditor monitonik asked the online community,
"What's normal in your country that's considered weird in others?"
"I grew up in Australia..."
"I grew up in Australia and migrated to Ireland about ten years ago. First thing I noticed was people in Ireland really like to talk about death in everyday conversation: Who died. When the mass is. The removal of the body and the anniversaries of their death. It's so normal in conversation."
"Leaving a baby..."
"Leaving a baby bundled up outside to sleep. When my previous neighbours had a baby, sometimes I would pass it on the porch, just sleeping. Including in winter as long as it wasn't too cold."
And in the United States, rest assured that child services would be called ASAP.
"In Japan, there are public toilets in a few places where after urinating, you can opt to view a general health assessment report."
Sounds like a privacy issue, no?
"I live in Malaysia..."
"I live in Malaysia and nearly everyone here uses at least three languages in a sentence."
Spend some time in Miami. The official language of the city is Spanglish.
"There's this sport..."
"There's this sport in Finland called eukonkanto, where men participate in running a specific distance, all while carrying their wife or girlfriend. Winner gets their woman's weight in beer."
"It's a small country..."
"Probably talking to people so that no one else can hear you except the person you are directly talking to.
It's a skill almost all Dutch people have, I have found, but it can be very unnerving for other people because you can be sitting pretty close to two people having a conversation and have no idea what they are saying.
It's a small country and very densely populated with people who value their privacy. It's a survival skill, really."
Can we bring this to the United States? Why are people so LOUD here?
"Some areas in the country..."
"Saying "hi" or waving to strangers. Some areas in the country take it even further and you're considered rude if you drive through a residential street and don't wave to anyone walking as you pass them."
"If you're walking with a dog..."
"Walking all over the countryside along ancient footpaths (as well as bridleways and byways, and a lot of disused railway tracks that have been designated as footpaths). These paths often go across privately owned land; the landowners are required by law to keep the paths clear, and if they put up a fence to provide a gate.
If you're walking with a dog, you're expected to keep it under control around livestock and when the path crosses a road, but otherwise it's just accepted that dogs are going to run around sniffing everything."
"We have robots..."
"We have robots at busy intersections and crossing points to assist and control traffic flow."
Nice to see Chappie is getting some work.
"The other day..."
"I teach in Japan but grew up in America. The other day my students asked me wide-eyed if Americans really wear their shoes inside. I told them yes and that sometimes my dad would cross his legs like this while we sat on the sofa and I could touch the bottom of his shoes. They were super grossed out. "Eew, why would you wear shoes inside! That's so dirty!" These kids are 2nd graders so it starts pretty young."
It never hurts to travel––you'll broaden your horizons and learn more about other cultures! When the pandemic's over––I mean actually over––and it's safe enough to travel, I might just hire someone to play my wife and take part in that Finnish wife-carrying contest. Some beer sounds great.
Have some observations of your own? Feel free to tell us all about them in the comments section below!
The brain a fascinating part of the body. No, its the most fascinating.
Scientists have said for years that we'll never know all about the brain and its functions.
So if it is so fascinating and so capable and awesome... why does it stall? Why does it overload?
Why aren't we all gifted with photographic memory? The brain definitely has a full storage issue. And we all suffer.
Redditor u/MABAMA45 wanted everyone to fess up to and just embrace all the things the brain can't handle by asking:
What can your brain just not comprehend?
I'm a smart person. I read, I study, I comprehend. But certain types of math can send me to the funny farm. I tried trigonometry in high school. I needed a therapist after a week. My brain hates math. It is what it is. I give up trying.
Louder!Meme Reaction GIF by reactionseditorGiphy
"I can't comprehend why any company would think I'm more likely to buy their product if they make their commercial 20db louder than all other commercials. Instant boycott."
"The sheer size and scale of the universe. Like the fact that you can fit all the planets of the Solar System between the Earth and the Moon. Now realise how far apart all the planets are in the Solar System. This is practically next door compared to the distance between our Sun and the nearest star."
"There are billions of stars in our Milky Way (with the majority having planets of their own). The sheer scale of the vast emptiness involved means that even when our galaxy merges with the Andromeda galaxy in 4.5 billion years' time, there will be very, very few actual collisions between stars."
"Then there is the void between galaxies, and that it takes billions of years for light, at its speed (massless, and the fastest speed possible), to travel between galaxies, speaks of the sheer emptiness and distance in that void. I can't quite fathom it."
"What was there before the universe, what was there before that, and that and that and (you get the idea)."
"Before" implies that time exists on both sides of an event, but that is not true when we are talking about the universe. Like how there are no positive numbers less than 0, there are no times before the beginning of the universe."
In the Words...
"Language, the fact that we all collectively decided separately and divertingly that certain sounds have meanings and that other sound mixed with those can change the meaning."
"Thanks for all of the upvotes and the award :3."
"Adding onto what I said, sounds are just vibrations in the air that out brains interpret into the sensation of hearing. Really we're vibrating the air at each-other and those air vibrations to your brain contain meaning. When you think about it like this language is not too dissimilar to the internet in a way. Makes you realize how crazy and unique of a skill language really is, with-ought it we wouldn't have a civilization."
"Another interesting thing related to this is when people call your name. Even if your in a crowded area with hundreds of people talking around you and you think your tuning them out if you hear your name you immediately notice, Some part of your brain must be constantly listening."
"Here are some other things my mind can't quite grasp:
- Computers, the fact that my phone is performing countless mathematical operations constantly.
- the plank length, if I understand it right it's the smallest distance anything can move, like a pixel of space.
- the human body and animals in general, were a collection of (large number but idk how large) cells all working together in various systems some how sustaining a brain that is able to be conscious, it's a miracle animals work at all let alone what they're capable of.
- why my ankles crack when I walk.
- what the future will be like, the world is changing so fast it's likely the future will be nothing like we think and it's coming." - Flaer15
I'm EmptyFun Floating GIF by Tomas BrunsdonGiphy
"My little brain can't comprehend the vast emptiness of space and the fact it supposedly just stretches on forever and never has an end. Kind of wild when you try imagine it."
Like any other muscle or organ in the body, we have to listen when pain is inflicted. We have to recognize discomfort and deal. Why don't we allow the same respect to our brain? It will tell us when enough is enough.
Simplicity...Work Working GIFGiphy
"How a simple calculator works. I can do math. I'm actually very good at it. How does a little plastic box do it though? Always boggled my mind."
"Dates. I am considered a historian by my family due to my knowledge on most world history, but God dang dates... I could be talking about WWII and say it happened the same date as WWI."
Billions of People
"That all the others persons I talk to or see, have their own thoughts, own inner dialogue and own life. For gaming analogy sometimes I just feel like others are NPC and I just can't comprehend that there are more than 7 billions person just like me."
The profound feeling of realizing that everyone, including strangers passed in the street, has a life as complex as one's own, which they are constantly living despite one's personal lack of awareness of it."
Now That's Too Much!
"I have a PhD in astronomy and MSc in Physics, and had to take ~2 years worth of quantum mechanics courses. It's one of those things where you can take solace that even with all that education on it all I can say is no one else really understands it either."
And the Dark?
"Light isn't affected by time. So... other things could just exist outside of time? Like, if you were a photon that traveled at light speed for a million years and then hit an alien's third butt, you'd experience it as instantly being a million light years away."
"A photon moves at the speed of light through space, but is standing still in time."
"A person at rest moves at the speed of light through time, but is standing still in space. When you accelerate through space, you're simultaneously decelerating through time. That's why observers will see your clock slow down when you begin accelerating at relativistic speeds. It's referred to as time and space dilation. Makes more sense once you realize that."
"There are people who don't have an internal dialogue with themselves. So, they never question if they are right or wrong. They never wonder if they are treating someone fairly, or if they are nice or mean."
"They can change their minds with no information, but it doesn't involve the process most of us go through when confronted with an opinion, or new data. It's not common, but it's not entirely rare. When I learned about this, I just couldn't understand how it was even possible."
The EndSeason 2 Episode 10 GIF by The SimpsonsGiphy
"Death, obviously I understand why people die and all that but just thinking what happens afterwards. What's it like for the said person that died, is it just blackness? Is it like they're dreaming??? Reincarnation?? This probably sounds very stupid but I don't care 🤦🏻♀️🤷🏻♀️"
There is so much to learn, and even more that we'll never know. And that's ok. When the brain is full, it's full. Seems like just a part of life. The mysteries will sometimes stay illusive.
It's okay to hate things.
Some things deserve to be hated. Internet trolls, people who mistreat animals, and individuals who talk during the movie are most definitely worthy of the scorn they gain. However, there are some items and topics which could do with a bit of rebranding. Instead of being "Hate Me," they instead deserve a sign that says, "I'm Really Not That Bad."
What doesnt need the hate it gets?
They say you hate what you don't understand. Clearly, they were thinking of things like the entries below when they came up with that expression as all of these fit the bill of being hated for not being understood.
It Cycles Past Judgement Into Comfort
"Sleeping with stuffed animals. You're never too old for that."
"Somewhat mature: Not needing a stuffed animal in order to sleep.
Very mature: Sleeping with one anyway because you don't give a f-ck what other people think."
Long Live The King
Most unfairly villainized and maligned animal in the world all because of some stupid Disney movie. They are not scavengers at all they hunt 90% of their prey and lions steal food off of them far more than they steal off lions. They are highly intelligent predators with an equally important role to play in the ecosystem."
They Go Through More Than Anyone Will Realize
I can personally confirm that I was a piece of work in grade school--then high school. And it wasn't because of teachers--it was because of me."
"As someone in high school rn, I agree with this. They get paid too little to deal with my laziness and bullsh-t"
You might have been told, either by a friend or a family member or some misguided news source, that the following topics are deserving of your hate. That their mere existence is something to shun and hate.
That's not the case.
It Tastes Soooo Good
"MSG. It's like salt but on crack and exploding with flavor."
This was a pretty racist phenomenon that got built up around Asian restaurants in the 70s and 80s.
"Essentially some study came out that MSG was bad for you and caused headaches, racing heart and basically anything else that might be considered bad. They even came up with a diagnosis for it "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome" and it was recognized as a legit medical diagnosis.
However, the FDA had already tested it and on retest found that it was still basically as safe as anything else you put in your food. .
The original studies were really flawed in that they weren't blind and there was already this perception that MSG was bad because they were racists/xenophobic."
You Know Bananas Don't Normally Look Like That, Right?
"GMOs. Humans have been slowly doing that since we started cultivating crops, now we can just do it quicker. And there are millions of people who rely on GMO crops to not starve to death."
It's important to be cautious about your own safety and well-being. No one is trying to convince you to take unnecessary risks.
However, sometimes that thing you were worried about might not be as deadly as you imagined.
They're Not All Chernobyl
"People freak out because of the radiation but almost everyone is oblivious to the amount of crap a coal or oil powerplant dumps in the atmosphere."
"Nuclear waste is relatively easy to store and modern nuceal powerplants have good safety records."
They're Just Words
Chemist here. The word "chemicals"
Toxicologist here. "Chemical free" ugggggg makes me so mad. Anything can be toxic at the right dose
Seriously. Don't Be That Parent.
"TV shows made specifically for toddlers. They are toddlers. It's all colors and shapes and being excited over simple things. That's what toddlers are about. YOU don't need to watch the show. It's not for you."
Do certain things and people deserved to be scorned? A look at Twitter will say a resounding, "Yes." But with a keener eye, and a closer look, you'll see that misinformation or misunderstanding can guide misguided to hate.
Going to college is an exciting experience. You meet new people, learn about the world and the inner workings of society, and make lasting friendships. As fun (and expensive *cough, cough*) as higher education can be there is a reason that only one-third of the US population 25 and older have been able to complete a four-year degree program. It is hard and burnout is real.
Going through university was filled with both happiness and sometimes tears for me. I loved school and found my classes interesting, dove into extracurriculars, and had that perfectionist drive to get all A's... totally not sustainable. It hit me I was totally burnt out about two years in while enrolled in an algebra class.
I wanted to give up, I was flustered and spent way too much time trying to get a great grade in a class that just wasn't clicking for me. What did I do? I had to take a step back and reflect on what I would tell a friend in the same shoes. I would tell them they don't need to be perfect, that getting a C+ in one class wasn't going to wreck their whole GPA, and for the love of God drink water too won't just coffee.
Self-care and stealing extra sleep, even just an hour nap, can go a long way to refreshing your drive. The takeaway really was just to show me the same love and support I'd been putting out to those around me. You deserve it, too!
Redditor peachyjams asked:
"What are some tips for a burnt out student?"
The Reddit community gave this user some wonderful tips and tricks to help with student burnout.
Go at your own pace.
“Don't pressure yourself into 4 years. It's OK to take it slower. Balance out your schedule with more enjoyable elective credits if you can, or just take less courses in a semester if possible.”
“Obviously things like financial aid, living costs (if not living at home) and others may play a factor in how many courses you need to take or how quickly you need to complete college, so if you can't take less courses, talk to your advisor or counselor and work with them to carefully plan out each semester so that your coursework is balanced IE: You don't end up accidentally taking Calculus + "Fun," art class that was 1000x more work than you thought it would be in the same semester.”~zachtheperson
“Burnt out doesn't begin to cover it.”
“I feel very qualified to answer this. I have been in college continuously since I was 18, and I'm now 32. I have 2 years to go before finishing my doctorate. I currently have an associate's, bachelor's, and master's. I have also worked the entire time. Burnt out doesn't begin to cover it. Here is how I stay sane:
- Give school as little bandwidth in your life as possible. "Good enough" are the two most beautiful words in the English language. Get Bs on things. Write your assignments and due dates on a master calendar, block off times to get them done, and try to avoid thoughts of school outside of those blocks.
- To increase productivity during your work blocks, use Freedom or something similar. I paid for a lifetime subscription and in one class alone it paid for itself. It just blocks access to your distractions on the phone and computer while you get stuff done.
- Tackle other hobbies in life that you see progress in outside of school. Even if it feels like school will never ever end and you're on a treadmill of misery going nowhere, you can go somewhere in other areas of your life. I'm currently training for a marathon, just started learning cello, I mentor first gen college students, and I'm in a book club. Pick your poison, but try to put away the laptop and push yourself in a non-academic area.
- Your social needs may vary, but try getting together with other people not in your circle of school misery. Join a sports league (yuck for me but maybe not for you). I host regular dinner parties. Volunteer. Now that vaccines are out, make sure you get one then connect with other people.
- DO NOT TAKE A BREAK. When you stop school even for a semester you know what it's like to be happy and not have the weight of misery pulling you down. You won't want to go back. Slog through and just do it.
- Don't reward yourself with damaging things. Don't eat or drink your rewards for school or you will be unhealthy and unhappy when you're done. Reward yourself with something positive instead."
If I had to recommend one book, it would be 'Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle'. Basically, it goes into the science of feeling burned out, why it's bad for you, and how to fix it on a physiological level."
“If you don't want to read the whole thing, if I could distill the most useful information it would be: exercise. The author digs deep into the science (which I love) behind why it works SO DAMN GOOD, but if you hate science and reading, trust me. Go for a run a few times a week, lift weights, dance a lot, just get your heart rate up. Good luck. School sucks."~bicycle_mice
You don’t have to be perfect.walking dead love GIFGiphy
“If you're an A student I would suggest lowering your personal bar. Being constantly burnt out isn't worth the 0.2 difference in your GPA and if you're worried about career prospects there are always comparable fields that aren't quite as competitive.”
“Trying to get an A in every class takes disproportionally more work. If you can get A's and a few more B's while getting to chill every once and a while and not stressing, do that.”~SlightlyOvertuned
Lists are seriously underrated.
If your sensation is of being overwhelmed (i.e. you have an impossible amount of work to do with no end in sight) more than burnt out (you are exhausted and becoming detached from the work), then two tips:
- Realise that it's not infinite. If you stick it out until graduation (and I hope you do!), then many of the problems you're accumulating will be wiped clear. Perhaps your GPA/final grade won't be as good as you want, but remember that whatever you're facing now - this too shall pass. Knowning that there is an inevitable light at the end of the tunnel is useful for me.
- Make a list. If you are the under-organised type, making a list of things to do each morning on a sheet of paper dramatically reduces the stress level that those items cause you. You can implement some fancy to-do software if you prefer but tbh a daily todo is simpler and more effective...”~alexandicity
A book and a blanket? Make it so.read new york GIFGiphy
“When I was a burnt out student I took solace in a comfort zone activity. Something unrelated to my school work that I could dive into for a little while when I needed a break. For me, this was reading the Lord of the Rings.”
“What works for you depends one what's in your comfort zone, but it should be something that you can easily pick up and put down again when it is time to get back to work.”
“To this day, I still read the Lord of the Rings when I get stressed or overworked. In fact, I am reading it now, for the 48th time.”~khendron
“Lots of things you could try! Sleep. 8 hours a day, wake up spontaneously without an alarm and if you feel the need do a 30-90 minute power nap in the afternoon.”
“Meditate daily, 5-30 minutes to start in the morning or whenever you feel comfortable. Limit the consume of caffeine.”
“Plan a healthy diet you can stick to, reducing the amount of junk food first to focus later on the composition of your main meals, snacks and so on. Eat plenty of greens, fruit, nuts and drink mainly water or sugar free drinks.”
“Take cold showers. Those are a huge boost, especially in the morning. Decompress. As someone said, take the days you need to just do nothing during your week. Last but not least, workout! Start small, build the habit and stick to it!“~Tha_Sin
“...it's pretty normal in our over worked society.”
“Burnout is real. It means you have given too much of yourself to something, and you need to recover. While deadlines don't wait, professors often will. “
“You have to communicate with them if you are struggling. If they are worth their pay, they will do their best to accommodate you. It's unhealthy to continue under so much stress. Be kind to yourself.”
“Nearly everyone experiences this at some point in life, and it's pretty normal in our over worked society. Do what you can to clear your mind. Assign yourself a certain number of hours to completely shift gears away from all these responsibilities.”
“Set an alarm if you have to, but give yourself enough time to reach a stage of full body relaxation. You can try walking, meditating, sleeping, whatever your body needs. Just listen to it! There is no shame here. You must care for yourself and keep a balance. Deep breaths, often.”~VaginaWarrior
“Yes to this advice!! Let teachers know ASAP that you are struggling and often they will be able to make accommodations or offer help. Also, looking into counseling services that are offered through the school is definitely worth taking advantage of while that stuff is accessible and free.”~shannonbta
“because a b*tch needs water...”
“My bad day thing is I have to get up, eat (even if it's takeout), put on fresh bedsheets because if I'm having a bad day in bed it might as well be comfortable and smell good, have a shower (even just shoulders down) and go for even a small walk, even if it's to the shop or to get myself that takeout."
“They're not huge things to do but they're very difficult on some days. And I don't always do them all, maybe I just eat and shower, or go for a walk, or just change my bedsheets. But all of them are small tasks that feel like mountains but once I do one or two of them they're so so easy, and I benefit from them all mentally or physically or both."
“And I have a litre bottle of water and cup of tea at my side at all times because a b!tch needs water and there are few things as comforting as a good cup of tea in a warm mug to me."~thisisausername-2021
“I didn't pull a single all-nighter in my 4 years of undergrad.”
- “Don't listen to your fellow classmates who boast about study 60+ hours a week, they're either exaggerating, straight-up lying, or have an incredibly inefficient study method. There will be times where you really need to be studying hard for extended amounts of time (ex. finals week), but for the vast majority of the semester it is completely unnecessary to do that in order to get a good grade.”
- “If you do find that you need excessive study in order to do okay in a course then you need to reach out to your TA(s) and professor. Most universities have free tutoring services, use them.”
- “Seriously just take more breaks and get more sleep. I didn't pull a single all-nighter in my 4 years of undergrad and now that I'm in med school I don't have any need for that either. Without real breaks and sleep your brain's ability to actually store and organize all the information you've studied goes out the window. This is harder to do if you need to work to support yourself but you need to find some semblance of healthy sleeping habits if you want to be able to make it through all 4 years.”
- “Eat real food. Don't just live off of snack foods and coffee, your brain isn't going to work properly if you don't fuel it. It's generally cheaper to buy canned and frozen fruit and veg so if you're on a budget try those aisles. Additionally, most places have some sort of charity or community pantry/soup kitchen, use it if you need to.You don't need to be completely destitute in order to reach out for help from these places, if you are struggling to make ends meet get help from your community. It is not weak, it is not shameful, it's being smart enough to accept that everyone needs help now and then.”
- “I mean it, don't pay attention to classmates and social media influencers who say they spend all their time studying. They almost definitely aren't and if they are they have an unsustainable view towards work/school that will bite them in the butt later on.”~JSD12345
Treat yourself to a mini-vacation.
“If you have any extra money (I know, easier said than done) book the cheapest AirBNB you can find within the area you can get to with the transportation you have available. Go alone or bring a friend, and have a mini-vacation, just for a night or weekend. It's very refreshing to have a change of scenery, even if it's in your same city.”~goshawkgirl
These are some great ideas to help cope with the all to real burnout. Remember to show yourself the grace you give to others because your best is all you can do.