Meg L. Austin


Presentation: 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m., LTC Studio



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As graduate students begin to enter the higher education and student affairs field, they are socialized to navigate their work successfully, which often includes over-involvement and over-commitment (Allen et al., 2020). Previous studies on student affairs burnout found that intense workloads, low salaries, conflicts between work and personal life, lack of advancement, and lack of continued passion contributed to burnout (Marshall et al., 2016; Mullen et al., 2018; Naifeh, 2019). Although there is a plethora of research on burnout and stress in student affairs professionals, research around student affairs graduate students is mostly absent. The purpose of this study is to discover how current full-time student affairs graduate students who hold assistantships navigate burnout, what factors cause burnout for graduate students, as well as the impacts of burnout before they obtain a full-time student affairs job. Data has been collected through qualitative research, interviewing 11 current full-time student affairs graduate students with graduate assistantships. Data shows that graduate students experience burnout due to lack of personal-professional boundaries, low-pay, and lack of support or recognition. These results can help the student affairs field positively impact retention rates, transform the culture of the profession, and better support graduate students.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Graduate Research

Primary Advisor

Graham F. Hunter

Primary Advisor's Department

Counselor Education


Stander Symposium project, student affairs, School of Education and Health Sciences

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Quality Education

Navigating Burnout in Student Affairs Graduate Students