Senior year has barely started, and yet everywhere I see it. Students keeling over midway through class, eyes slamming shut. Kids collapsing in classrooms, moaning, hands permanently fixated in the texting position. Kids, writhing in hallways, banging heads against walls…everything, anything to avoid physics!
Ladies and gentlemen, it has arrived. Senioritis has swept in early this year, and if you listen really closely, you can hear the dispassionate groans of seniors across the country…
…the final farewells to GPA’s…
But why should you really care? A lot, actually.
Senioritis is a real danger, as much as we like to make fun of it.
Colleges can rescind their acceptance! Even though you may have gotten your acceptance letter, this does not mean you’re in the safe zone. In fact, you won’t be in the safe zone until you have your second semester grades in your hands and you’re halfway to the beach.
This is even more relevant if you’re starting to exhibit symptoms in the fall. A lot of seniors send in their early action applications and feel like grades don’t matter anymore. This isn’t true! Colleges sometimes request first quarter grades and check up on you after first semester—with occasional check-ups afterwards, as well.
We always hear those horror stories about kids getting accepted to their dream colleges, only to slack off and become ineligible to attend. Don’t become that kid!
For seniors reading this—and even juniors or sophomores—here are great ways to avoid the plague. Even if you’ve caught it, it’s not too late! Follow these tips to stay organized and on top of things…until June, that is. That’s when the fun begins.
Conquering the Plague
1) Get organized
There’s nothing that encourages procrastination and laziness more than the “submit” button on the Common App! Just because your college apps are in, doesn’t mean your calendar is now defunct.
a) Write down all of your upcoming projects, all of your daily homework, and all deadlines so that you don’t miss them all! Getting a giant calendar and marking it up with a pen is always oddly satisfying!
b) When you have a crippling case of senioritis, it’s easy to lose track of time, completing your easiest assignments and failing to finish projects on time. Create a list of priority tasks—and make sure to write it down. Don’t just store it mentally. When you have a physical list in front of you, it’s a lot harder to slack off.
c) Organize your folders, too! By the time it hits the middle of the year, your folders might start to resemble paper maché. You’ll be able to complete your work much more efficiently when everything is organized and in its place.
2) Stay busy
a) Set attainable goals. When you’re continually pushing yourself to be better, there really isn’t any room for Senioritis. Set realistic goals to achieve at various “check-in points” throughout the year. For example, if you run a culture club, you might want to reach a certain number of members by second semester. If you have a B- in AP Calculus, you might challenge yourself to have a B+ by the end of the month. Check your list of goals every day and note what you have done to make progress.
b) Find an internship, volunteer opportunity, or job. Committing yourself to interesting, character-building work outside of school often has a direct reflection on your classroom performance. Especially when second semester hits, you’ll find that you have a lot more free time. Make it useful! Staying busy through outside work is not only rewarding, but it can lead to valuable opportunities after high school, as well.
c) Take college courses. Challenging your mind in difficult, yet intellectually invigorating courses outside of high school will not only help you prepare for college next year, but also keeps you from meandering down the path to academic laziness. Outside classes can help spark added interest in your high school courses and also improve classroom performance with new knowledge your classmates—and maybe even your teachers—do not know. You can also take courses online.
d) Take care of yourself. This means: staying active, sleeping enough, and eating right! No more late-night junk food binges during study sessions or all-nighters! You don’t have an excuse for those now! You’ll find that when you take care of your body, you’re also taking care of your mind. You’ll have more energy to work and more focus in general.
e) Expand! You’ve been working hard these past three years, getting better at what you do, participating in extracurriculars…why plateau in senior year? This ties into setting goals for yourself, but senior year should be about expansion, not about giving up but continuing that upwards trend of progress. What does this mean for you? It means that you should continue with your commitments and challenge yourself to become even better. If you’ve been volunteering for the animal shelter these past few years, keep on doing that! Maybe try to be promoted to a higher volunteering position. If you’ve been part of Mock Trial for some time, keep with that! Use this last year not as a break, but as an opportunity to continually improve. This will not only stave away Senioritis, it will destroy it.
3) Set the tone
a) Get new school supplies. If your school supplies are looking a bit tattered, you might want to invest in getting some replacements: new pens for those that dried out. New folders for the ones that are torn and useless. There’s nothing that’s more motivating than a fresh slate and a positive goal.
b) Clear your workspace. This is very much related to the previous point. Clear off the landfill on your desk and all of the old junk that you really don’t need anymore. Having a clean, orderly place to work can do wonders for your work ethic and organizational abilities.
c) Write a reminder of why all of this matters at all. Write out the risks of slacking off this late in your high school career and hang it somewhere in view. If this is second semester, hang up your acceptance letter and maybe a note by it that says, “YOU WORKED YOUR GLUTEUS MAXIMUS OFF FOR THIS. DON’T LET THAT GLUTEUS MAXIMUS GO TO WASTE.” Or you know, something of the like. A visible reminder is always a great source of motivation.
4) Remember the big picture.
The most important thing to keep in mind, though, is the big picture. No matter how many tips and tricks you use to avoid Senioritis, there really is a cold reality behind it all: you’ve come so far, and it would be a shame if you lost it—not even out of a lack of ability—but out of your own sheer laziness. Remember that scholarship opportunities and admission decisions all hinge on your year-long academic performance. So, be on time to class. Don’t ditch. Get your work done…hang on for just a little longer!
Good luck and stay strong, my fellow soldiers. The war is almost over.
Well, actually, it’s still October. So, we have about eight months left.
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About Maddi Lee
Maddi is currently a high school junior in southern California. She is an avid freelance writer and has been featured in multiple literary publications and anthologies. When she isn't writing, she loves traveling, doodling, and most of all, sleeping. Through her own experience and passion, she hopes to help guide fellow students through the roller coaster that is SAT and college admissions...that is, as long as she survives the journey herself!
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