With spring just around the corner, the first cases of senioritis have already broken out. Symptoms include increasing apathy toward schoolwork, the desire to skip class, and a persistent sense of academic burnout. Have you been affected? If so, it’s not too late to turn things around! Finish the year strong by following these steps:
1) Rediscover Your Inner Geek
Remember being a kid and having that fresh, starry-eyed approach to learning? Maybe you were the class bookworm or you went home and repeated science experiments for fun. Whatever your passion was throughout your educational career, rediscover it senior year. If you are going to college after high school, course requirements, extracurricular activities, and other obligations may make it more difficult to enjoy learning for its own sake all the time because you are under more pressure—both from the wallet and from the clock—to meet constant deadlines. If you are entering the workplace, your opportunities to pursue study might be limited by your work schedule. While you might not realize it now, the stakes are typically lower and the pace typically slower in high school—use the time to fall in love with the learning experience again senior year!
2) Prepare for What’s Next
You’ve worked hard these past 13+ years to achieve your academic goals—make the most of this last sprint! College, if that is your next stop, demands more than high school. Take advantage of high school resources to fill in learning gaps and prepare for college student life. Polish your writing, use math tutoring services, frequent the college prep office, or check out key texts for your major from the school library. If you are entering the job market, discuss your resume and career path with your counselor. The momentum will help combat senioritis by making you feel all-around focused and motivated.
3) Recognize the Consequences
If you’ve already secured a job or been admitted into college, congratulations! Don’t fall into the trap of not trying anymore because of this. Colleges typically ask for your final transcript and could reconsider your decision or funding if your final grades signal unpreparedness. Moreover, your GPA will show up on your resume until you’re a year or more into college. If you float aimlessly through senior year, you could risk internships and, consequently, professional opportunities for years to come. If you fall short on graduation requirements and have to take summer school, you may compromise your job prospects if you are entering the workplace.
4) Find a Balance
None of this is to say that you shouldn’t relax and enjoy senior year, though. Most graduates remember their senior year of high school with nostalgia because it reflects such a significant crossroad. You will almost certainly not see some of your closest friends everyday again, and you may be moving far away from the people you’ve grown up with. Finding ways to incorporate your senior year bucket list into your school schedule, however, can give you the best of both worlds and prevent regret later. Reward yourself after being admitted into schools, getting a job, or scoring well on AP tests by spending time with friends. Attend sporting events, school plays, community events, etc.—when everyone gets busy or moves next year, coordinating such bonding time will become extra challenging.
5) Take Care of Yourself
It’s easy to slip into a hedonistic lifestyle during senior year. You might be transitioning out of sports teams or sacrificing sleep to balance socializing with studying for AP tests and completing college applications. However, to successfully balance academic obligations with a vibrant social calendar, you need to have the energy. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep daily, exercise, and eat healthy (while still treating yourself once in a while). It might sound daunting to monitor your health while already dealing with a busy senior year, but it’ll be good practice for maintaining a healthy lifestyle when you go to college.
6) Give Yourself Permission to Say No
The pressure to do everything everyone else is doing senior year can be overbearing, and FOMO is a very real thing. Remind yourself, though, that this is just senior year—not the end of your days. Doing everything just to do it will compromise the experience you could’ve had doing a few things you really wanted to and making the most of them. It’s okay to turn down social events just to have some valuable me time, too—sometimes an hour of Netflix is more therapeutic than that senior house party.
Congrats on making it this far! Though it may seem like senior year will never end, before you know it, you’ll graduate and wish you were back. Take the time to appreciate the experience—these are the memories you’ll reflect on in college and beyond.