It is that time of year again. The fall semester is over; the holidays are under way, and pretty soon thousands of high schoolers everywhere will be thinking: ‘Just how do they expect us to do any of this.’ Senior year of high school is supposed to be fun. You are the top do; you run the school. You are older, wiser, and your curfew is 12:30 AM. The world is yours…except for some reason all of your teachers think that on top of dealing with the GIANT transition of going from High School to College, you should also have to take care of a bunch of stupid assignments!
If you don’t feel this way already, you will shortly. In reality, you probably don’t have that much more work than usual in any of your classes, and your responsibilities are manageable, but you’ve caught a little thing called senioritis, and with the added work of college applications everything seems completely umbearable.
How do you deal with this persisting feeling of laziness? We have a few tips to help you through these trying times. Read, follow, survive.
1. Daily, Weekly, Monthly To-do Lists
During this final stretch of your high school career, to-do lists are your best friend. You are going to get extraordinarily lazy, trust me. Whether you are still applying for colleges or have already been accepted to your school of choice, there are still a ton of things to do before summer rolls around.
Making to-do lists for each day, week, or month (depending on your personal preference) allows you to divide work evenly amongst a specific period of time. Assign the completion of an application for one day, studying for a test another, and weekly homework for the next. Trying to attack a mountain of work in one day can be incredibly stressful, so break the work down and tackle it piece by piece. Everything will become a lot more manageable this way. For some more to-do list resources click here.
2. Make a Calendar
One of the best ways to conquer senioritis is by getting organized. What’s the best way to get organized? Make a calendar. Wikihow has a pretty great guide on this (and some other excellent tips as well), but here is what we suggest:
- Make a list of every deadline you have for current high school work.
- Make a list of every deadline you have for college work (application due dates, scholarship due dates, financial aid deadlines)
- Make a list of continuous daily commitments (sports practice, music rehearsal, club meetings, work, etc.)
- Make a list of random commitments (college visits, dentist and doctors appointments, vacation, etc.)
- Fill in your calendar with all deadlines in red, daily commitments in blue, and random commitments in orange (you can choose whatever colors you want).
- With a solid schedule laid out in front of you, in yellow, start to plan when you will work on things in regards to your deadlines and commitments.
- Make tentative deadlines for yourself before actual deadlines.
- PLAN SOCIAL AND ALONE TIME
Everyone has different ways they like to get organized, but a calendar is a definite way to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks (assuming you pay attention to it). If old school paper and pen aren’t your thing, check out these calendar apps.
Authority figures in your life will probably tell you to avoid the advice I am about to give you, but someone needs to be in touch with reality here. You are probably going to let some work slip during these last few months (by choice). It’ll be the middle of April, the sun will be shining, your friends will be hanging out on the beach, and you’ll decide your final paper is good enough as is.
Unlike most people, I won’t tell you that this is a bad thing. It is fine to slack off every now and then. Yes, I did just say that. Being lazy is okay! But only if you do it in the right way.
If you have a C or below in a class going into the final exam, you should study for it no matter what. If you can bring your grade up from an A- to an A with your final paper, make sure that you turn in an A level paper. But if you have an A going into your final exam, and with the studying you’ve already done you think you’ll get at least a B on the final, it might not hurt to slack off a bit.
You should always try your best, but I have seen senioritis enough times to know that slacking is a forgone conclusion. And if you know you are going to slack off, then you should plan accordingly. Only slack on things that are of the least importance. Slack in classes where it won’t matter or on assignments that are insignificant. If you prioritize by the level of harm or benefit an assignment, project, test, etc. could have on your end grade, you should set yourself up for success while effectively planning for the inevitable laziness that is bound to set in.
4. Treat Yourself
Just about the only good thing about having loads of work on your plate is that you have a million excuses to treat yourself. A great strategy for making sure you meet all of your goals during your final High School semester is to reward yourself for the completion of tasks.
Tell yourself that you can watch an episode of Bob’s Burgers after two hours of studying or that you can play Uncharted for 30 minutes after completing three applications. It takes a little self-discipline, but if you set up your own reward system, you will have the incentive to finish things even when you’re feeling completely apathetic.
5. Form a Group
Peer pressure gets a pretty bad rep. While it can lead you into doing things that you find morally contrary, it can also lead you into doing things that…well, you should be doing. If you’re having trouble completing applications or studying for exams, round up a few of your friends and get your work done together. Since you will already be with your friends, you won’t face as much temptation to go hang out with anyone, and you’ll have a few people to keep you in check if you lose focus.
WARNING: Make sure that everyone in your group knows that you are meeting with the express purpose of getting things done! Forming a group can backfire entirely if a few people decide they would rather goof off the whole time.
6. Change Your Mind Set
It isn’t the easiest thing to do, but sometimes all you need to do to regain your focus is to change your mindset. For example, let’s say you have to write a research paper for your history class. Instead of focusing on how much you hate writing research papers, tell yourself that this is the very last one you’ll have to write in high school. Or let’s say you are struggling to get all of your applications done, instead of letting dread sink in and putting them off further, imagine yourself at the college of your dreams. If you can turn that image into a solid goal in your head, you should be able to gain a little determination. Tactics like this can go a long way to overcoming seniorities.
7. Don’t Take on More Responsibility Than You Need To
For some of you this might not be a problem, but for those of you who have a hard time saying no, you might soon find yourself in over your head with homework, applications, and extracurriculars. Make sure that you don’t overbook yourself during this final stretch. As I said before, you can almost count on feeling a little “done” with school which may lead to laziness. Don’t drown yourself in too many responsibilities. Leave time for your social life and leave time for yourself. Consult your calendar before agreeing to any great responsibilities and don’t feel bad for saying no.
8. Remember You Aren’t in the Clear Yet
Another big way to defeat the bane that is senioritis is to find a new source of motivation. For a lot of students, it is remembering that they aren’t in the clear until they graduate. Every year colleges are forced to revoke acceptances in light of students blowing off their last semesters. Colleges don’t like to see an A student suddenly receiving C’s. They can and will revoke your acceptance if you give them a reason to. If you find yourself in need of a motivational source, look no further than this. You haven’t graduated high school or started college yet. Don’t let the senioritis take over so much that you can’t accomplish the things you have set out to achieve.
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