It’s official: Second semester is upon us, and so is your most severe case of senioritis yet. Between trying to make your final college decision, pretending like you still care about your grades and answering incessant questions from curious family members, it can be difficult to stay motivated and focused on the last few months of high school.
Luckily, plenty of collegiettes have been in your shoes before and are here to offer their advice on surviving the second semester of senior year (and thriving)!
1. Try something new
At this point in your high school career, you’ve been around the block a few times, and you’re probably more than used to your same old routine. Combat the inevitable symptoms of senioritis by trying something you’ve never done before, whether it’s auditioning for the spring musical, trying out for the track team or joining a new club. Not only is stepping out of your comfort zone a great way to make new friends, but keeping busy will also help make the last few months of the year pass quickly.
“Deciding to play soccer my senior year was one of the best decisions I’ve made,” says Danielle Hensley, a freshman at Indiana University. “Having practice every day helped me to stay disciplined, and the semester flew by because I was always busy with practice or games. Not only was it a great way to stay fit, but I loved spending the time with new friends.”
Be on the lookout at the beginning of the semester for opportunities to find out more information about athletic teams, academic clubs, musicals and other extracurricular activities. Reach out to club leaders and fellow students to let them know you’re interested in getting involved with their team or organization, and approach them with any questions you may have. How often does the club meet? Are there any membership costs? Is it okay for a senior to join this late in the year? Not to mention, making a friend early in the process will help make the transition to a new club or team much easier and less nerve-wracking.
2. Live in the moment
We get it—after four years stuck in your sleepy little town, you’re ready to move onto bigger and better things! With the excitement of college on the horizon, it may seem nearly impossible to keep your mind fixed on anything but the future. However, don’t become so focused on counting down the days until graduation that you take these precious last weeks for granted.
Although it’s hard to imagine now, these may be some of your final memories with the classmates and teammates you’ve known since kindergarten. Embrace the little things like the late nights with your best friends, the home-cooked meals from your mom and the times you have to drive your little sister around in the car—you just might miss them a year from now!
Are you and one of your best friends headed off to different colleges in the fall? Make the most of your last few months together by doing the things you love. Grab fro-yo at your favorite after-school spot, shop for prom dresses and keep up your Friday-night Netflix tradition.
“During the last few months of high school, I tried to spend as much time with my best friends as I could,” Danielle says. “In the back of my mind, I knew we were all headed off to different colleges and that things would change soon, but I tried not to focus on that. I knew it was important that we all hang out and make the most of our time together while we could.”
3. Steer clear of drama
Your high school days are limited, so don’t spend them stressed out! While the petty fights with friends, the seemingly endless love-life problems and your parents’ strict curfew may seem like the end of the world now, they won’t last as long as you think.
Start the semester off fresh by pledging to gossip less and be more patient with your friends and family (despite the fact that they’ve already asked you 3,000 times what you’re going to major in). After all, you’d hate to look back a year from now and realize you spent your last few months of high school caught up in problems that you couldn’t care less about now.
Instead of resorting to gossiping, address issues with your friends face-to-face. After all, this isn’t middle school, and there are few problems that a mature conversation can’t fix. Is your BFF upset over a rumor that was spread? Are you not getting along with your SO? Before freaking out, take a deep breath and listen to the other person’s side of the story. Imagine the situation from his or her point of view, accept responsibility for what you said or did and offer to make amends as best as you can. More than likely, your friends don’t want to spend their last days of senior year caught up in drama either, so they’ll be willing to move on from little problems, too.
4. Plan ahead
For many pre-collegiettes, the final months of high school are the busiest and most stressful. Between trying to keep your grades up, finding the perfect prom dress, planning the dream spring break trip and making your final college decision, keeping track of everything that’s happening can seem nearly impossible. Do yourself a favor and kick off the new semester by making a conscious effort to become the most organized version of yourself yet. Keep careful notes of due dates and assignments, arrange appointments ahead of time and avoid procrastinating or over-scheduling yourself.
Keeping an assignment notebook is a great way to keep track of projects and test dates as they arise. Even if you’ve never kept track of your assignments before, the end of senior year isn’t too late to start. With all of the exciting events that happen throughout second semester, your calculus homework or the upcoming literature test are probably the last things on your mind. Check your assignment notebook on the daily, and you won’t have to stress about last-minute cramming.
Speaking of exciting events during second semester, prom may be closer than you think! Even if your plans aren’t finalized yet, you can still start looking for a dress or schedule your hair appointment. If you wait until the weeks before the dance to search for a dress, you may have trouble finding one you really like or one that fits you just right. Not to mention, getting a dress hemmed can take a week or two. Avoid any last-minute stress by starting your dress shopping ASAP!
If you’re still in the process of making a college decision, schedule a visit with your school guidance counselor. Even if you’ve never met with him or her one-on-one before, it’s never too late to reach out! Your guidance counselor can help you make lists to weigh the pros and cons of each school you’ve been accepted to.
“I met with a guidance counselor throughout the college process,” says Sarah Dilick, a freshman at New York University. “They definitely helped [me] with staying organized, because they have papers and checklists and binders to help you keep track of all your applications.”
Although the first half of the school year may seem like it dragged on, with second semester comes a serious change of pace. Focus on minimizing stress, getting involved with activities you’re passionate about and taking advantage of these final months with your best friends, because graduation will be here before you know it. Best of luck, pre-collegiettes!