You’ve probably heard the term “senioritis” at some point, but do you know what it means? Although the suffix “-itis” means inflammation, you’d be mistaken to assume senioritis refers to puffy senior citizens.
Senioritis is a real phenomenon affecting students in their final year of college. It manifests in various ways, including a sudden disinterest in schoolwork, skipping classes, and procrastination. While it may sound like a made-up excuse for poor performance, senioritis is a very real condition with psychological and physiological causes.
For many students, the end of college is a time of transition and stress. They may be contemplating their future career choices or facing the prospect of leaving home for the first time. This uncertainty can lead to feelings of anxiety and insecurity, which can, in turn, lead to disengagement from school.
If you’re a college student nearing the end of undergrad and the description we just provided sounds all too familiar, don’t fret. There are plenty of steps you can take to combat senioritis and get through your final year of college successfully.
1. PRIORITIZE ORGANIZATION
With a little bit of organization, you can avoid letting senioritis get in the way of your success. Make a list of all the tasks you must complete before graduation and have a system to track assignments and due dates. Set aside time each week to plan out your upcoming tasks. Once you have a clear overview of what you need to do, you can prioritize your time efficiently.
2. CELEBRATE THE LITTLE VICTORIES
As you near the finish line of your college career, it’s important to celebrate the little victories. By this point, you’ve likely passed some challenging courses. You may have had an internship or two and gotten a feel for what working in your desired field might be like. Hopefully, you’ve made some lifelong friends along the way. Whatever your accomplishments, big or small, it’s essential to take a step back and appreciate how far you’ve come. The college experience can be demanding, and it’s easy to get mired in the daily grind. But by taking the time to celebrate your successes, you’ll help yourself stay motivated and focused as you finish up your degree and prepare for the next phase of your life.
3. SET SMART GOALS
Some people earn their undergraduate degree and know exactly what they will do for a career. Perhaps they’ve already lined up a dream job or know continuing their education with a master’s degree is their next step. However, if you’re still uncertain, it can be easy to become directionless and distracted as you near the end of your senior year. To combat this slump, set SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. In other words, a SMART goal is specific and attainable, with a clear deadline. For example, instead of saying, “I will get good grades my last semester,” try setting a goal to “earn an A on my senior thesis” or “update my resume.” Targeted, well-thought-out goals will help keep your motivation from fizzling out.
4. FOCUS ON YOU
Finishing college is a significant milestone, but it can come with a lot of stress. There are so many things to think about: finding a job, paying off student loans, and the anticipation of getting ready to enter “the real world.” It’s easy to get caught up in the chaos and forget to take care of yourself. But it’s important to remember that your mental and physical health should be your top priority. Make sure to schedule time for activities that make you happy, whether getting some exercise, reading your favorite book, or hanging out with friends. And don’t forget to cut yourself some slack. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed during this time, so do your best and be kind to yourself.
5. STAY MOTIVATED
As you near the end of your undergrad, a lack of motivation is very common. You might be feeling burnt out from all the coursework or unsure about what you’ll do after graduation. However, it’s important to try to stay motivated during this time. After all, you only have a few months left until you earn your degree! If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s ok to step away from your work for a little while. Clearing your mind will help you come back to your work refreshed and ready to focus. Try to remember why you’re doing this. What are your goals? What do you hope to accomplish by earning your degree? If you keep these things in mind, you’ll be on track to finish strong and earn the degree you’ve worked so hard for!
6. REMAIN OPTIMISTIC
Maintaining a positive attitude is key to finishing your higher education successfully. Take the time to appreciate what you’ve accomplished. Give yourself credit for all the hard work you’ve put in. Recognize how capable you are and how bright of a future you’ve set yourself up for by earning a quality college degree. Being optimistic isn’t always easy, but it’s essential for success. As you finish college and embark on the next phase of your life, believe in yourself and stay positive.
7. LEAN ON YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM
If you find yourself struggling with senioritis, it’s crucial to rely on your support system. Family and friends can provide much-needed encouragement and help hold you accountable for your goals. Your roommates can be a great source of support, especially if they’re nearing graduation as well. Your professors can be a valuable resource; they may be able to offer advice or give you extensions on assignments if needed. Remember, you don’t have to go it alone; leaning on your support system can help you get through this challenging time.
8. SCHEDULE BREAKS
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, burnt out, or just plain bored, take a few minutes to step away from your work. Go for a walk, listen to music, or take a few deep breaths. It’s also vital to create a schedule and stick to it. Dedicate certain days and times to homework, studying, and other school-related activities. But don’t forget to set aside time for yourself!
9. JOIN A STUDY GROUP
One of the most effective methods to avoid succumbing to senioritis is joining a study group. You can stay motivated and on track by surrounding yourself with other students committed to doing well. A study group can help you stay accountable and ensure you put in the effort necessary to succeed.
10. UTILIZE SCHOOL RESOURCES
Remember to utilize school resources if you’re struggling during your senior year of college. Talk to your academic advisor about what courses you need to finish your degree and whether you’re on track to graduate. If you’re having trouble finding a job after graduation, stop by your career center and speak with a counselor. There are also on-campus mental health resources if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Don’t try to tough it out on your own – reach out for help if you need it. Your senior year should be spent enjoying campus life and building lasting memories, not stressing out.
11. MANAGE STRESS
As any senior in college knows, the final year of school (especially the second semester) can be an extremely stressful time. Between writing a thesis, managing a job or internship, and trying to enjoy your last few months of college life, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. While some stress can be motivating, too much of it can lead to burnout. In addition to following the steps on this list to help combat senioritis, you should also take steps to mitigate the effects of stress. Make sure to get enough sleep and exercise. Try practicing mindfulness or meditation. Or simply partake in an activity you enjoy, purely for the pleasure of it. Keep your stress at a healthy level, and you’ll be less likely to succumb to senioritis.
12. GET EXCITED ABOUT THE FUTURE
What are you interested in pursuing after graduation? What are your goals and dreams for the future? It will be easier to get excited about the future once you have a clear idea of what you want to do. Then, start making plans. If you know you want to go to graduate school, start researching programs. If you’re planning on moving to a new city, start looking for apartments and jobs. The more concrete your plans are, the more real and exciting they will feel.
Finally, remember that senioritis is just a phase – it doesn’t have to ruin your entire senior year. So don’t let it stop you from enjoying the present moment. Take time to savor your last few months of college life. Go out with your friends, enjoy your classes, and make memories that will last a lifetime. Soon enough, you’ll be off to bigger and better things!
Should you decide your future involves continuing education, consider Johnson & Wales University. JWU offers a wide range of career-focused, online graduate and doctoral programs and professional certificates. Small class sizes and faculty and staff dedicated to helping students help ensure you get the individualized attention you need to reach your full potential. With programs in everything from hospitality to business finance, criminal justice, and more, there’s sure to be something to help you design your future. For more information, complete the Request Info form, email [email protected], or call 855-JWU-1881.