Senioritis is no joke. I know I felt it my senior year of high school, and pretty much everyone I talked to felt the same lack of motivation knowing that graduation was on the horizon. But no one prepares you for the way your mindset changes when you reach senior year of college. It can hit you at the strangest of moments. It’s the realization that you’re 21 years old and still sleep in a bunk bed. Or that you’re about to enter the world of adults only knowing how to make eggs and toast. Or that you can do multivariable calculus but you can’t do your taxes without calling your mom. For some, it’s a slump: going to class and doing simple assignments is a struggle when you feel such an overwhelming pressure to figure out who you are and how to achieve your ideal career. Everyone experiences this strange in-between phase differently.
Here are a few survival tips for a mindset makeover to take charge of these last three quarters:
Tip #1: Join a new club or on campus organization.
It might feel counterintuitive to sign up for something new during your last year, but this can be a great way to reenergize your college life. That’s what I did by joining UW Her Campus this year! It’s never too late to make new friends and get more involved on the campus you love. Feed off the energy of bright-eyed freshmen, and meet other upperclassmen who share similar aspirations for post grad life. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a new passion or way to network.
Tip #2: Upgrade your organization
College lets you hone in on your organizational style and time management skills while the stakes are still relatively low—now’s the time! Buy a cute new planner that helps you feel in control of your schedule or try out a new online calendar that helps you manage the best of all worlds—school, work, and friends. Writing out your goals can help get them accomplished!
Tip #3: Visit your career center and attend a career fair
Feeling confused and lost about what you should be doing right now? Make an appointment at the career center or with your major advisor. Talk out your worries and make a plan of action. Ask about upcoming career and graduate school fairs and pick one to attend. Get excited about prospective jobs and opportunities while talking with recruiters. Remind yourself that you’re an asset!
Tip #4: Don’t play “stress Olympics” with your friends
This is a tough one, but it’s key. Ever get in those unproductive conversations with friends about what’s stressing each of you out that ends up turning into a competition of who has it better or worse? It’s so easy to get caught up talking with other seniors about how overloaded your schedules are and all the things you should be doing to prepare for post grad life. Occasional venting can be healthy, but comparing yourself to others doesn’t help anyone. Everyone does things at their own pace!
Tip #5: Talk to your parents or a mentor you trust
It can be super helpful to talk to someone who’s already gone through this crazy college transition and ask them for advice. What do they wish they’d done differently senior year? How did they get to where they are now? Talk to a friend or a family member who can give you the inside scoop and help remind you that you’re not alone in this thing! Also, it can be really helpful to sit down with your parents and ask them any questions you might have about finances and post grad logistics.
Tip #6: Explore new possibilities early
Take an hour or so each weekend to check out job boards like Handshake and Idealist to get excited about what’s out there. Consider making a list of the ones that catch your eye. There are so many jobs out there that you probably don’t even know exist that are looking for people like you!
Tip #7: Take care of yourself
After three whole years of college, if I’ve learned anything it’s that naps are the key to life. And that pulling all-nighters is the W.O.A.T. Put those days behind you. Get sleep, hydrate, and pack healthy study snacks. Right a note to yourself about all things you’re doing right and what you’re proud of yourself for. I guarantee you’ve grown so much more than you give yourself credit for.
I hope these suggestions help, but in reality I’m just as clueless as you. Embrace the awkwardness. You’ll get there girl!