Image Credit Smart College Visit
Seniors, we’re almost there. We’re so, so, so close. After a pandemic, a treacherous election cycle, wildfires, and a slew of many other things I personally lost count of (or repressed in my memory), our college degrees are closer than ever. Whether you worked your butt off in four years, sped through with the Degree in Three Program, or took an extra year (or two, we don’t judge here at The Siskiyou), all your hard work is paying off. Exciting, right?!
Lately, however, I have been finding it hard to focus. I don’t know if it’s the weather finally clearing up and Spring is here, the fact that I’m so burnt out after term after term of classes, or if I’m watching too much TV while I do homework. Whatever it is, I think I speak for a lot of SOU’s graduating student body when I say: it might be Senioritis.
According to Merriam-Webster, Senioritis, commonly associated with high school seniors, is “an ebbing of motivation and effort by school seniors as evidenced by tardiness, absences, and lower grades.” Now, personally I don’t like this definition, as there could be other reasons why students are late or absent to their class. A lot of college students take on two or more jobs, and that could contribute to their feelings of being burnt out.
That being said, there is a universal definition to Senioritis: burnt out, unmotivated, and tired.
The College Post published a list describing eleven tips “to help overcome senioritis,” and while some of them are “Sign Up for Jon-Related Activities” or “Create a Schedule,” I feel like a lot of us have already been doing that. Plus, SOU’s Office of Career Connections recently hosted a career fair that many students, particularly seniors, attended.
Other tips The College Post described were giving yourself breaks in-between tasks, celebrating your victories, doing something new every week, and looking towards the finish line. In fact, in doing research for this article, I found that a lot of those “Self Help Senioritis” articles said the same things: set goals, stay organized, start planning, etc. (A lot of these websites were super pushy too, start planning NOW, CONSTANTLY be networking, my goodness. One article even said to start a freelance business. No offense, but I don’t think many of us have time for that).
To get a better sense of Senioritis and what methods are helpful to students, the Siskiyou spoke with several current SOU seniors on how senioritis has affected them and asked for ways they’ve been coping.
Mekenzie said that one of the ways senioritis has affected her was taking longer to complete her assignments. “My brain is easily distracted by thoughts of graduating and what’s next,” she said. One of the things she does to help herself out trying to set timers for both doing work and having time off. She also said that “lots of down time to just enjoy small things like a walk or enjoying my favorite food!”
Another student, Simona, said that the feeling of being burnt out is from being unsure of her future. “I thought I knew what I wanted and that I just had to get through to graduation, but the longer I continue the more unsure I am about wanting to do this as my career…I’m in a weird middle ground because my passion for my major is gone.” In terms of coping, she said that journaling and going to therapy have been helping her out a lot. “I think anything to help vent out feelings in a physical written manner has been the most helpful for me personally.”
A coping strategy that SOU senior Jay has been using is to pick new place to study that he’s never been before. “Putting myself in a new environment can help me get out of a ‘routine’ and into focus mode. Also, taking lots of breaks and being gentle with myself when I feel the senioritis!”
Kyla, an SOU student currently completing their Masters of the Arts of Teaching and their multiple subject teaching credential, said that while not a lot of people talk about senioritis in college as much, senioritis in grad school is another story. “Nobody talks about senioritis in grad school, especially where you know you’re so close to being completely done after the most intense year…you’re so busy and exhausted and burnt out but have to keep going and going.” Some methods they’ve been using to cope with the stress is taking naps, remembering to eat food, and trying to schedule homework and lesson planning so it’s not constantly looming.
The Siskiyou even spoke to a few SOU alums to offer advice and comfort during the home stretch of the 2022 grads. 2021 graduate Daniel said the best analogy he can give is the tortoise and the hare. “The hare sees the end is near but decides to be cocky and not keep going,” he said. He also that something he did when he was close to graduating was to treat everything “like normal” and before he knew it, he was done.
Sarah, another SOU graduate, said something that helped her that she offers to the current seniors was to “make a schedule for yourself to help keep from procrastinating” Completing projects in smaller chunks so the work becomes more manageable. “If your mental health is suffering, take a break from homework and talk to a friend, advisor, mental health counselor, etc.,” she offered. Setting a time limit on your phone or deleting social media apps altogether while you get your work done. Another tip she recommends is taking a break from homework and “talking to a friend, advisor, mental health counselor…don’t forget to take care of yourself!”
She also offers a great piece of advice about school and the stress it can have. “At the end of the day, and teachers are going to hate me for saying this, but…it’s just school! Don’t sweat it too much! Life is short, don’t stress out about imperfections and just do your best.”
Taking breaks are probably the best bits of advice, as well as allowing yourself to take breaks. It can be easy to deny yourself rest when you are so close or on a roll. But the truth is, walking across that stage won’t be fun if you’re super tired. Give yourself permission to take breaks. Another tip is allowing yourself to feel what you’re feeling—again, we’ve gone through A LOT in just a few short years.
And hey, if it means anything, I meant to write this article in the Fall—the FALL TERM. And what term is it now? Right.
Hang in there, we’re almost done.