How to Overcome Senioritis

By Alyssa Laffitte on April 18, 2019

“Senioritis” is a funny term that refers to the lack of motivation that hits high school and college seniors. It is when college seniors lose the desire to put effort into their work because they have come so far and have very little to go.

It’s easy to lose motivation when you have been working hard for so long and the finish line is so close. It’s even easier if you already have your next step secured (for example, why should you care about your last semester of high school when you’ve already accepted an offer to your dream college? Why should you continue college if you already have an amazing job lined up?). This is why many seniors end up with senioritis.

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Although you may be tempted to lose your motivation for school as you begin your final year there, you should try your best to retain it! Contrary to popular belief, colleges (and some jobs and professional schools) do ask for your final transcripts. They do take into account your grades from your last semester. It doesn’t happen often, but they can retract offers if your final grades drop dramatically enough.

For that reason, you should make every effort to combat senioritis and finish your last semester on a high note. In this article, we will discuss dealing with senioritis.

Signs you have senioritis:

First, you should look for signs of senioritis in yourself. These signs include:

  • Drop in grades- you are not motivated to keep your grades up anymore.
  • Not completing assignments on time- you are not making your schoolwork a priority.
  • Skipping class often- you feel like going to class is a waste of time.
  • Procrastination- again, schoolwork is not your main priority anymore. It tends to fall to the bottom of your list.
  • Loss of interest in extracurricular activities- you feel disillusioned with high school (or college) life.
  • Lack of motivation (the main “symptom” of senioritis!)

In other words, if you are no longer motivated in your schoolwork or making it a priority, you might have senioritis! Here is what to do to cure your senioritis and end the school year on a high note.

Maintain your momentum

It’s easier to prevent senioritis while it’s still early in your senior year. In other words, if you keep your momentum, starting at the beginning of the semester, you will be less likely to lose your motivation later on. This means you should take the same number of classes, continue attending them as you always used to do, and continue participating in fun activities.

Don’t allow yourself to slack off by skipping class, procrastinating, and not turning in your work. If you maintain your momentum, it will be easier for you to stay on track and keep yourself motivated until the end of the school year.

Take exciting classes during your last semester

Some seniors (especially college seniors) find themselves taking boring elective classes their last semester because they have finished the required classes for their major. Taking classes you are not interested in is a surefire way to come down with senioritis. If you must take elective classes, try to find ones that interest you.

When you take classes you like, you will be less likely to procrastinate and skip class. In fact, your senior year is the perfect opportunity to take a random class that you would have never taken otherwise. (For example, I took a Portuguese class my second semester of my senior year. I would never have considered taking it, but I did because I needed the credits to be a “full-time” student and keep my scholarship. I ended up loving it!). If you enjoy the classes, you will be less likely to develop senioritis.

Get involved on and off campus

Another way to prevent senioritis is to get involved in extracurricular activities around campus. No, senior year is not too late to get involved; it’s actually the perfect time to get involved! After all, it’s your last year there, so it’s your last chance to do “high school kid” or “college kid” things in the city you are in. When you graduate, your life will be completely different and you won’t be able to go back to the way it was before. For that reason, you should get involved as much as you can to make the most of your last semester at school.

You can get involved in campus events (such as yearbook, planning for the graduation ceremony, school newspaper, or other clubs sponsored by your school). It will help you feel more connected to your school as you enjoy the last of your time there. You could also get involved in off-campus extracurricular activities, too, such as volunteering at a local community center. All these things will make you more excited about your senior year and will prevent senioritis.

Prepare for your next steps

When you know what your “next step is,” it’s easy to lose your motivation because you know something better is coming! As I said before, it’s hard to focus during your last semester of high school when you know you have already been accepted to a great college. Instead of thinking of your “next step” as a reason to procrastinate, think of it as a reason to keep working hard where you currently are.

Remember, you still need to keep your second-semester grades up, even if you have already accepted a college admission or job offer. If you keep that in mind, you can encourage yourself to keep working hard to prepare yourself for the better things that are coming. This way, you don’t let yourself lose your motivation.

Infographic by Alyssa Laffitte

Keep yourself on a schedule

Keeping yourself on a schedule is a great way to prevent senioritis. A schedule will help you stay on top of your work, and avoid having it all pile up at the end of the semester. Allowing your work to pile up can tempt you to procrastinate simply due to the sheer amount of work you need to do! That’s not the way you want to finish your senior year.

When you have a schedule, you can prioritize and take care of the most urgent tasks. For example, tasks that are due tomorrow are of highest priority, while tasks due next week are lower on the list. This will help you determine which tasks to tackle first. You can focus on those tasks while you worry about the lower priority ones later. Also, it is very satisfying to cross tasks off your schedule!

Keeping yourself on a schedule will help you stay motivated during your senior year.

Take a break

In some cases, senioritis can be due to burnout. If you can tell your senioritis is caused by burnout, taking a break might help you get your motivation back on track. Of course, if you’re still in the middle of the semester, you can’t completely stop your work to take a break.

Instead, you might take a weekend or a few days off and come back to your work later. You can dedicate this break time to rest, hang out with friends, or make progress on a hobby you haven’t been able to work on in a while. This mental break from school might be exactly what you need to regain your motivation. Especially if you are a senior dealing with burnout from school or work, a short break could “cure” your senioritis.

Reward yourself

Along the same lines, rewarding yourself can also help you regain your motivation for school. The reward doesn’t have to be big to be effective. For example, you can give yourself permission to do something you enjoy (like go to the movies or eat out at your favorite restaurant) on the weekend only if you have finished all the tasks you scheduled for yourself throughout the week.

This reward system will give you the push you need to keep you motivated. However, it’s important that you don’t cheat, or else this system won’t work. If you don’t meet your goal, don’t let yourself do what you said you would do only if you had met your goal. If you cheat, it defeats the whole purpose of the system, so don’t do it.

Setting goals and then rewarding yourself once you meet them is a good way to prevent senioritis.

Take care of yourself

You can’t be an effective student (or worker) if you neglect self-care. Taking care of yourself will help you stay sharp mentally and physically. It will give you the energy and motivation to keep going until graduation day.

To take care of your body, you can do things like eat healthy foods, drink more water and less sugary drinks, exercise, and get more sleep. It doesn’t have to be drastic, either. Even switching out one soda for a water or walking a few blocks instead of driving will do wonders for your physical health. Life as a student puts a heavy demand on your body; taking care of it will help it carry you through your academic career and beyond.

To take care of your mind, you can do things like spend more time with friends and less on social media or practice a hobby. These things will allow your mind to disconnect and recharge for a while. When you take care of your mind, you will not only be a better student, but you will also enjoy life more.

Taking care of your body and mind will help you push through those last months of your senior year and finish off strong.

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Enjoy your last semester!

I mentioned this earlier in the article, but it’s worth restating that your life will never be the same once you walk across the stage. You will never be a high school student again, and you can’t relive your college years. You might also never live in your hometown again. For that reason, you should enjoy your last semester and the city you are in as much as you can.

Especially during your last semester, you should make an intentional effort to do things with your friends around the city. For example, you should go out to eat to your favorite restaurants, watch your favorite movies together, visit your favorite landmarks, and shop at your favorite local stores. Treasure those moments, because you will not be able to do those things again when you walk across the stage.

I would recommend making a short “bucket list” of places and people to see before you leave. This way, you can be sure you have done everything you want to do in your current city.

It’s too easy for college and high school seniors to lose their motivation for school since they have come such a long way and are almost at the finish line. It’s even easier for them to lose their motivation if they have something exciting planned for the next step of their lives (for example, a job or a college acceptance). This characteristic drop in motivation is jokingly nicknamed “senioritis.” In my opinion, it is a very real phenomenon.

Although it’s easy to lose interest in school as a senior, it is important for you to keep your momentum. Don’t drop the ball during your last semester! After all, colleges and employers do consider grades from your final semester. Yes, they will notice if you slipped up. For that reason, you should keep yourself busy and motivated, since you need to finish off strong. Doing things like taking interesting classes and getting involved on and off-campus will help you maintain your motivation and your academic momentum.

Similarly, losing your motivation can also cause you to miss out on enjoying the last few weeks of this stage of your life. You will never be a high school or college senior again, so try to enjoy those moments while you still can.

In short, don’t let senioritis stop you from finishing your senior year on a high note, and enjoying it to its full potential.

23, ISFJ. Biology student. College lifestyle blogger. Avid reader and writer. Dog lover. Nerd. Boyband enthusiast. Superhero in training. Here to help you become the best you can be!

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