Dear high school and college seniors — you’re almost there! The last lap of your senior year is here, and the excitement of beginning a new chapter in your life starts to settle in. Now, you are starting to ask yourself: Where am I going to move post-grad? What college am I going to attend? Should I go to grad school? But when the excitement dies down and you find yourself in the thick of the spring semester, you realize that there’s so much you still need to get done before you finish school. Cue the senioritis.
Senioritis is a very real phenomenon that affects seniors, and can manifest itself in various ways. From a sudden disinterest in schoolwork, skipping classes, and procrastination, senioritis can be a pain to manage. “It’s a difficult thing to avoid completely,” says Michelle Podbelsek, the director of College Counseling Associates in Menlo Park, California. “Young people at this age are learning about managing all aspects of their lives. It really is part of the learning process.” While senioritis isn’t something you can completely avoid, there are proactive steps that you can take to manage it better and finish the spring semester strong.
Create a buddy system.
Chances are if you’re feeling senioritis creep in, so are your friends. “Because it’s so common, it should be easier to mention to peers that you need support to stay accountable,” Podbelsek says. Reach out to your friends to create a study group that meets once a week at the coffee shop on campus, at the library, or rotate study dates between your homes. Studying with friends will make these final assignments feel like less of a chore. It’ll also help you to spend more time with your friends before you graduate. “During the last semester for both high school and college, there usually are extra activities going on that mark this special time — senior sunrise, spring fling — make the most of bonding with your friends and peers too,” Podbelsek says.
Stay organized and set SMART goals.
The key to avoiding procrastination is to stay organized. Sometimes. all it takes is setting up a new planner, creating that new bullet journal spread, or sprucing up your study corner with new school supplies to feel a new wave of motivation to study and get work done. I know refreshing my study space always helps me to get back into the grind. Setting SMART goals can also help break down your to-do list into specific and attainable goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. For example, if you need to apply for internships or want to do well on your last few exams, instead of generally saying “I need to get good grades,” or “I need to apply to X amount of jobs,” break it down even further. “I need to get an A on my final exam,” or “I need to update my resume by the end of the week” helps you target your goal.
Do something every day.
To-do lists and goals can be daunting, even if you set up the perfect SMART system. It can seem like a mountain to climb these last few months — especially for my fellow seniors and grad students who may be working on your final capstone project or thesis. The struggle is real right now, besties! “The key is to do something about it every single day,” says Florence Bryant, Director of Graduate Advising at the Savannah College of Art and Design. “Following this advice helped me to keep my momentum when I was in grad school. Whether it was reading an article, writing, editing — doing something every day, I felt that I never strayed too far from my path toward completion.”
Celebrate the little victories.
Graduating is a huge milestone. “The finish line is so close, but you can’t drop the ball now,” Podbelsek says. But on your way to the finish line, it’s also important to celebrate the little victories. Cue Miley Cyrus’s “The Climb,” because you deserve to celebrate the little moments too, however, that may look for you. If that’s slowing down and journaling, taking that mid-afternoon nap, or doing some well-needed self-care after a busy week, treat yourself, bestie!
These last few months of your senior year can feel like a lot, but remember that you can and you will get to the finish line. “It does not have to be perfect, but it has to get done,” Bryant says. “At the end of the day, you still want to make sure that you’re doing the best you can, but remembering this can take the pressure off you.”