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Senioritis: It’s Not Just a High School Thing

I can still remember the feeling I had after my parents left me in my fully decorated freshman dorm–overwhelming excitement. I always told myself in high school that college was going to be “my time.” College was where I was going to live my best life, learn all I could, and prepare myself for the future. This belief carried through my entire freshman year. I felt motivated in all my classes, even the Gen-Ed requirements. My career goals were crystal clear. Going out and making friends felt easy and fun. Overall, I was just happy to be there.

And suddenly, in a blink, I’m starting my senior year and graduating next semester. Where did the time go? All of that excitement has been replaced with every senioritis symptom you can imagine–lack of motivation, chronic fatigue, extreme boredom, and an overall sense that everything I’m doing is pointless. At first, I thought I was crazy for suddenly feeling this way. I’ve always loved going to class, talking to my professors, turning in my assignments, and anticipating good grades. What happened?

No one talks about this in college. From the start, we are told that college is going to be the best time of our lives, something we will always want to go back to. When we become seniors, we’re made to think that we need to hold onto our last year as tightly as we can and make the best of it. Like they always say, “Once you get into the real world, it’s serious business.” But why is it that my college years aren’t already considered “serious business?” By the time we get to our final year of college, we’ve worked so hard that sometimes we lose sight of what we’re even working for. Or, in other cases, we are so excited to finally graduate that we’re anticipating the future more than staying present in the moment. Or, senior year is just incredibly stressful because of the harder classes, internships, and planning for post-graduation. All of these reasons for feeling unmotivated are valid, but often ignored.

I’m writing this to tell you (if you’re feeling the senioritis kicking in): it’s not just a high school thing. You don’t have to force yourself to make senior year the best time of your life, as if all the fun is over as soon as you graduate and enter “the real world.” Still, senioritis is no fun to go through. Here are ways that I am attempting to overcome senioritis and make it through my last year-

  1. Connect with friends and loved ones.
    By the time senior year comes around, you’re most likely living off campus or with people you already know. You may be traveling off campus more for internships and jobs. Going to class, doing school work, and working may be necessary parts of your routine, but it can always keep you away from your support system. Try breaking up your normal routine by hanging out with friends, calling your loved ones, or even going back to your freshman roots and doing activities that you used to enjoy.
  2. Remind yourself what your goals are.
    Write them down in a journal, type them in your notes, say them out loud–whatever you need to do to remember your WHY and WHAT. Why did you come to college? Why did you feel motivated before? What do you want to accomplish?
  3. Practice self-care.
    Whether this is doing an hour long skincare routine, meditating, eating your favorite food, taking a walk, or just going to bed at a reasonable time, self-care is an important aspect to reducing chance of burnout. Remember: it’s never selfish to take care of yourself. Prioritizing your own needs and wants is just as important as doing schoolwork.
  4. Be your own best friend.
    When you’re feeling tired and unmotivated, it’s easy to immediately talk down on yourself. If your best friend was feeling down, would you say the same things to them? Being kind to yourself by minimizing negative talk can help you have a more positive and forgiving mindset as you go through your senior year.

Caroline is a third-year student at Winthrop University with a major in Social Work and minor in International Studies. She plans to study abroad in Japan next semester and join the Peace Corps after graduation. Her hobbies include going to concerts, writing essays, watching anime, and working out.
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