Burnout is definitely real. As weird as it sounds, there is such a thing as studying too much. Studying the wrong way can also cause burnout. To me, this is the hardest challenge to overcome in medical school. Towards the end of each semester, the studying gets harder and my focus drifts away. Having those few weeks off in between semesters is really essential to keep you going. Next semester I am going to be studying for boards, so I am a little nervous about getting burned out. However, I think that attitudes and mindset can really change how quickly get burnout or how you handle it. Knowing what is ahead definitely helps. Similar to how a 30-minute car ride that turned into an hour with traffic seems awful, but a 4-hour road trip is doable and enjoyable if you have the end goal in mind.
Another way that I have found to combat burnout is to stop studying when the studying is useless. By that I mean, if I read the same slide over and over again and still didn’t retain anything, I give myself a break. Studying inefficiently is doing absolutely nothing to help you retain information, and it accelerates the burnout you are already feeling. Everyone says that medical school is a marathon, not a sprint. This means that you have to pace yourself along the way. It also means you have to prepare yourself ahead of time. As I create my board study plan for next semester I am mentally preparing myself for what is to come. I also plan on scheduling in breaks and days off, that I am sure will be much needed.