Dear Class of 2021,
I know that you feel it. Any motivation or work ethic you had in the beginning of the year is starting to (if it hasn’t already) rapidly diminish. You just don’t feel like studying for upcoming tests, you’ve been putting off writing that paper for weeks, and your homework is completed 5 minutes before it’s due. If you can relate, you may be suffering from “senioritis”
- a (non-medical) condition that causes the motivation of seniors in high school to suffer.
This is personally a condition I suffer from, but I believe that it can be remedied by following the tips in this article. Because everyone suffers varying levels of senioritis, I have listed my advice according to the severity of your condition.
Together, we can beat this!
Stage 1- Mild
Symptoms include: Struggling to pay attention in class, procrastinating slightly on homework, hitting “snooze” in the morning.
Ways to keep productive:
- Finalize your post-high school plans
While it may be overwhelming to think about, you won’t be in high school for much longer, so it’s imperative that you have a solid plan of what you want to be doing after; whether it’s a four-year university, community college, trade school or a gap year- make sure you don’t carry senioritis past this year.
- Begin educating yourself on “adulting”
I know, I know. Who wants to think about adult responsibilities? As boring or irrelevant as it may be now, educating yourself on things that you will need to know in the future, such as personal finance, insurance, credit cards, and loans, will undoubtedly take off some of the stress of having to learn them later on.
- Get new experiences
COVID-19 may have eliminated a lot of in-person opportunities for getting new experiences, but there is no shortage of virtual opportunities available for students. Getting exposure with different activities and meeting people from different backgrounds is extremely beneficial not only for identifying possible career paths but also for personal growth.
Don’t limit your learning to a classroom- challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and learn from everything around you!
Stage 2- Moderate
Symptoms include: putting mediocre effort into assignments, spending too much time online, starting to feel directionless.
Ways to stay productive:
- Implement healthy habits
Too often our health is prioritized last after everything else, but we should consider that remaining healthy is crucial before doing anything else. Challenge yourself to eat a bowl of vegetables everyday, exercise at least 10 minutes a day, or simply take a full, deep breath when you start to feel stressed. It’s the small, daily habits that form our quality of life.
- Touch Base with Your Guidance Counselor
Even though we’ll be out of high school in less than 4 months, our high school guidance counselors are still here for us as resources. Schedule a brief meeting with them to discuss graduation requirements, post graduation plans, or simply to check up on how they’re doing.
- Continue to search for and apply to scholarships
My school’s college career counselor advises students to “treat applying to scholarships as a part-time job.” If you haven't already, sign up for a Fastweb account and instantly get matched up with hundreds of scholarships that are personalized for you. There’s a lot of scholarship money that goes unclaimed each year, so make sure you are applying for as many as you can!
Stage 3- Severe
Symptoms include: regularly coming into class late, completely ignoring teacher’s lectures, accepting and doing nothing when receiving poor grades.
Ways to stay productive:
- Identify your goals
What do you want to have accomplished when high school is over? Identify one thing that you can do before senior year ends that will make your future self proud.
- Find your “why”
Sometimes, we get disconnected from our reasons for doing things. When we do the same things everyday, we forget why they’re meaningful, which ultimately leads to disinterest or lack of effort. In this case, I’m talking about school.
We tend to take for granted our right to an education in America, especially after years of being in school. Sometimes, our lack of interest isn’t laziness, but rather being out of touch with why education is important. Try to reflect why you believe school matters, and reconnect with the joy in learning things.
- Prioritize self-care
BTS once said that “It’s alright to stop. You don’t need to run without knowing why.” In life, it’s important to keep moving forward in spite of obstacles, but it’s still necessary to know when you need a break.
It’s senseless to work with a depleted battery, so we must recharge by doing things that bring us joy; whether it’s spending time with friends and family, going on a walk, or listening to music, we need to ensure we are at 100% in order to give 100% to anything else.
Parting Advice for High School Seniors
My last, but definitely not least, important piece of advice
: enjoy it. Because no, you don’t have to have it all figured out!
There’s a quote in the show, “The Office”, that seems appropriate for senior year (yes, another quote): “I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days before you actually left them.”
While it may not feel like it, this stage in your life is temporary. Enjoy it, appreciate it, and try to make the most of it before it’s gone.