Every former and current college senior knows all too well the tendency to let things go at the end of the semester. The weather is getting nicer, the days are getting longer, and the senioritis has never been more real. If you’re finding yourself nearing the finish line of senior year with absolutely zero motivation, it’s totally understandable. Four or more long years of college and you’re bound to feel a little burnt out by the end. That said, you likely have less than a month left and even though dropping the ball without a second thought is tempting, your future self will thank you big-time if you hang in there and finish strong.
If it is your senior year, with graduation fast-approaching you should be enjoying yourself and letting loose more than usual. But if you’re starting to feel a bit anxious about whether you’re sliding a little too far, check out the following tips for guidance. Whether you’re just beginning to feel the effects of senior slide or you’ve been deep in it for months, there is still plenty of time to make sure you aren’t totally letting all your school work and other commitments go down the drain.
- Schedule it out
One helpful tip for keeping yourself on track during these last few months of senior year? Use your planner consistently. Even if these next few weeks mean fewer responsibilities than normal (i.e. only one final and no more club work), try to plan out a daily schedule for yourself or use a to-do list. When we have less to do, it is easy to fall into the trap of doing nothing — which is not ideal. If you account for all the tasks you have on your plate, no matter how few or how small, you have a better chance of actually accomplishing them.
Adhering to a schedule in the coming weeks can also be helpful for adding much-needed structure to your days (especially if they are starting to feel less and less busy). Try incorporating some new, productive tasks into your daily routine, like going for a run on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons or journaling your goals and aspirations for the years to come out of college. Finding small ways to be productive outside of school and/or work can be a smart way to prevent entirely checking out for the remainder of the semester.
- Establish a reward system
The most important thing to remember if you anticipate yourself undergoing a senior slide is not to neglect your prior commitments. To make this a bit easier, try incentivizing yourself with rewards every time you complete a task. For example, if you want to get dinner with your friends, hold yourself accountable to any tasks you need to complete by setting aside the time to get them done ahead of time. The reward of meeting up with friends later on will feel that much better since you got something accomplished before doing so. As you’ve probably realized by now, motivation can be hard to find in these final moments of senior year, so sometimes you just have to treat yourself for even the most miniscule of tasks, like attending a 30-minute club meeting or sending that one email.
- Think about the long term
Senior year may mark the end of college, but it also marks the beginning of your career. If you have a job laid out for after graduation, don’t forget to keep up with emails and other forms of correspondence with your future employer. What’s more, if you’re finding yourself short on school work, this could be the perfect time to write out your goals for the coming year. How will you define success in your first year on the job? What relationships are you hoping to build? What concrete things are you hoping to accomplish? On the other hand, if you don’t have your career plans solidified as of yet (which is perfectly okay), use this time to think about what the future might hold for you and what steps you can take to get where you want to be.
- Embrace the slide (to a degree)!
It’s all about finding balance. You’ve worked hard these past four years and you deserve to put your feet up and coast. Just make sure you aren’t coasting too hard. What this really comes down to is compromise. You’re having a hard time putting in the hours for your upcoming accounting final? Set a timer to study for a few hours, but do it outside in the quad and enjoy the fresh air. Don’t feel like doing any work on a Saturday? That’s fine, but write a reminder on your phone or computer to start studying the next morning. Sometimes it just takes small prompts (iPhone reminders and Google timers) to push yourself to complete what needs to be done.
In all honesty, there is no cure for a lack of motivation, especially the kind that comes from senioritis. When you’re a senior, forcing yourself to do work and feel excited about it can be quite an uphill battle. Still, you can give yourself nudges, whether it’s the promise of dinner and drinks with friends or setting google timers to track your work progress, in the right direction to strike a balance between work and play. Just be sure to embrace these final moments with an open mind and an open heart. Graduation is around the corner and, as cheesy as this may sound, you only get one college experience… so make the most of it!