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  • Writer's pictureThe Eagle

SOS--The Struggle Bus that is Senioritis

From left to right: Seniors Emma Duncan, Sarah Vincent, and Patrick Trent suffer through their schoolwork with minimal casualties. (Photo by Emma Duncan)

By Emma Duncan and Sarah Vincent--Eagle Editor and Eagle Staff Writer

It’s the spring semester of your senior year. You’ve got a full day of scholarship applications and college comparisons on your to-do list. With all that you’re doing to prepare for college, the bellwork assignment for your English class seems like the last thing you need to worry about right now. You tell yourself that the sun will shine down on your stress-free mind in just a few months, but there’s one problem: you’re not there, you’re here, in the cloudy weather.

Senioritis: the inevitable fate of every high school senior. We all know it’s unrealistic to quit doing schoolwork halfway through the last semester, but it seems worthless to work just as hard as you have been for four years when the finish line is in view.

So, how do we keep our motivation up all the way to graduation? Well, two senior staff members are currently suffering from senioritis and have decided to share their experiences to comfort and advise fellow members of the class of 2023.

Sarah Vincent’s senioritis struggles:

While I haven’t committed to a college yet, I’ve still had my fair share of senioritis. My only goal throughout high school has been to graduate and get into a really good college. While there’s still a lot for me to do to achieve that, my schoolwork has become less important in the grand scheme of things. I’m only focused on keeping my grades up enough that I don’t lose any scholarships or college acceptances.

Sarah Vincent (senior) pictured crying over some assignment she can't even remember. She does this quite often. (Photo by Sarah Vincent)

The issue is, I’m tired. I’ve been keeping perfect grades for four years now and there’s so much else to do that making an A in a class is low on my list of priorities. It’s one of those things I’ve learned to power through because while it may seem meaningless, I know that it’ll help me more in the long run to keep excellent grades.

If I had a foolproof plan on how to overcome it, well, I’d probably be a life coach and have a lot of other problems solved too. Still, I’ve learned a few things that have helped me keep my motivation through the home stretch. My biggest motivation has always been the future I had in mind for myself. Whenever possible, I connect what I’m doing at the current moment to my future goals and career plans. When it comes to my schoolwork, I have to remind myself that having good grades now will give me more scholarships and help me get through college with more financial security.

When all else fails, I treat senioritis like it’s burnout. I set aside scheduled times to do schoolwork, turn off distractions, and give myself short breaks, but most of all, I allow myself grace. I focus on completing my work at a pace that doesn’t stress me out or leave me exhausted. More often than not, sacrificing timeliness for the sake of my mental health helps me get work done quicker and leaves me feeling more fulfilled.

Emma Duncan’s senioritis struggles:

Like Vincent, I have been bitten by the senioritis bug, but for different reasons. Recently, I found out I was accepted by Virginia Tech, so while I may be sitting in David Amos’s College Statistics class, my mind is an hour and a half away in Blacksburg. Even though I applied to numerous other colleges, Tech was always the plan, so now that I know I’ll be trading in my Eagle spirit for Hokie pride, my priorities have changed.

Emma Duncan, senior, experiments with learning statistics by letting the math problems flow into her brain naturally. Conclusion: it doesn't work. (Courtesy Photo)

There are important preparatory events I need to attend, things I need to sign or verify, and my roommate and I are more interested in creating Pinterest boards for our dorm instead of doing our lab report. The work my teachers are assigning is beginning to feel like busy work to keep me occupied until May 25. I still put in my usual effort for tests and other large assignments, but I’m beginning to slack on the small stuff.

By far, the biggest toll senioritis has taken on me involves my extracurriculars. The clock is ticking on my time in high school, and I find myself questioning how much impact I can really make in such little time. If the clubs I’m a part of plan to begin big projects in the coming weeks, there’s a chance we won’t get finished by time school lets out, and once all students (except the senior class) return to campus after a long summer break, the same drive, inspiration, and mindsets may not exist.

One of the ways I deal with senioritis is by reaching out to a friend. Whether this be over text or over coffee, I find it incredibly helpful to talk things out with someone who’s walking down the road to graduation right beside me. My friends are great at giving advice when I’m truly overwhelmed or simply encouraging me to push forward by explaining how things aren’t as bad as I think they are. Spending time with friends is also just a good brain break. It’s crucial to focus on our mental health during this time because for many, academic success sadly determines our mood.

So, since living like Ferris Bueller for the next two months is sadly unacceptable, I try to make completing my school work as easy as possible with a couple of simple tasks. I use Google Sheets to organize my school work and scholarship applications by their deadlines. Similarly, my planner has become my best friend. I write down everything: homework, family trips, and intentionally scheduled time to relax mindfully. Crossing these tasks off my list makes me feel accomplished and motivated.

I also like to change the setting in which I do my homework. Since I know I can’t focus in my room, I’ve made a habit to go to Starbucks after school with friends a couple of times per week, and my level of productivity has skyrocketed. If going out isn’t an option for you, you can create a “study center” in your room, your family’s office, or even outside. Most importantly, make sure you’re rewarding yourself for getting things done! A simple “good job” or five minutes on your phone after turning in your English essay is totally deserved.

Final Thoughts:

There’s one major principle that all seniors need to be aware of: you are not lazy. Senioritis is not laziness. For most of you, the future is finally clearer than it’s ever been, thanks to the hard work of the last four years. And while you know you can’t slack off completely, it is OK to slow down, breathe, and enjoy the last leg of the marathon that is high school. Keep moving forward, but know that it’s OK to relax and enjoy the journey, too.

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