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Juliette’s Declassified School Survival Guide: March

Five ideas to cure senioritis

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Juliette’s Declassified School Survival Guide: March

Photo Illustration by Emma Trussell

Photo Illustration by Emma Trussell

Photo Illustration by Emma Trussell

by Juliette Roberts, Copy Editor

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All across the country, even the globe, seniors fall prey to a chronic lack of motivation as the end of their high school career looms ever closer on the horizon. Every year, especially in the spring, this epidemic surges, claiming student after student for its own. Straight-A students, athletes, theatre kids, STEM kids — nobody is safe.

The zombie virus may not be real (yet,) but senioritis certainly is.

Senioritis can be diagnosed by symptoms including procrastination, a lack of excitement, and a loss of motivation to correct these habits as easily as it was in the past — due to it being a senior’s last year of school.

I’m a junior, so I can’t speak straight from personal experience, but I know the feeling I get right before finals, when I’m so exhausted from all the projects and essays due I can barely conjure up the motivation to study just a little more, even with the promise of summer break just around the corner.

Fortunately, there is a cure to senioritis, just like there’s a solution for anybody who’s losing motivation and needs a little kick to remind them just why they want to do well in school. The solution may not be the same for everyone, but the situation is never hopeless.

Give yourself a break

This sounds counterproductive, but giving yourself a break doesn’t mean taking a break. A lot of students who lose their motivational spark do so because they take it upon themselves to always be at their best. They feel that if they’re slacking off, it means they’re a terrible student and getting too tired to function is unacceptable. Guilt is the fever that keeps senioritis going, just like how guilt causes procrastination rather than solves it.

The solution is to reverse that, however is best for you. Personally, I think keeping an agenda is helpful to show yourself how much you’ve accomplished in one day. Other people don’t find that satisfying and may like to treat themselves to a snack or a small shopping spree after school to celebrate. Whatever helps you, the point is to acknowledge your accomplishments, no matter how small they are, rather than put them down as being “not enough.”

Don’t force yourself to bounce back from a long period of procrastination and sapped motivation immediately. Rome wasn’t rebuilt in a day. In fact, it was abandoned for centuries, but here it is, back again and magnificent.

Asking for help is underrated

This is, in my opinion, the most important tip, and no doubt the most difficult. It’s easy to admit senioritis to your peers – not so much to ask for help in curing it. But this fear seems a bit ridiculous if you look at it from the opposite point of view. If a friend came to you asking for you to help them study, would you make fun of them? Hopefully not. And they’d, hopefully, do the same for you.

With teachers, it’s the same logic. Teachers get paid to help students; that’s their job. Giving tutorials or other assistance is something they should expect to do, and especially if you ask a teacher that truly cares about students, they will want to help you in any way they can. I can’t remember how many times I’ve complained to my mom about how difficult this or that is, and have gotten the response, “Why don’t you go to tutorials?” And then I laughed, because who asks for help anymore?

It sounds intimidating at first, but the courage it takes to simply speak up and take a real step to solve your problem, rather than just letting it carry on, is actually very empowering.

Self-care

Personal hygiene is something everybody should take seriously. It affects how people see you and how you feel about yourself. I have a running joke with one of my close friends that I can always tell how she’s feeling that day by the way her hair looks. If it’s stringy and unwashed, she’s having a rough time. If it’s shampooed and looks nice, she’s in a good mood. Tending to your personal hygiene will leave a good impression on others, even when they don’t mention it.

Cleanliness is a contributor to your state of mind just as much as it is a symptom. This isn’t just a cliche health tip, it’s supported by science. Hot showers boost your oxytocin levels, which can reduce anxiety.

So when you’re in the middle of a long study session and the stress starts to creep under your skin, try taking a shower. It might not be the only solution, but it is a big part of it. Afterward, you’ll be fresh in both body and mind.

Unplug

We all have different habits that snatch time away right from under our noses — for some people, it’s Netflix; for others, it’s video games — but the most common time-consuming habit I’ve seen in my friends is scrolling through social media. When we’re on Twitter, Instagram or, for me personally, YouTube, time seems to go twice as fast. A five-minute break can turn into a two-hour binge session.

Sometimes the best solution is the easiest: delete the app. You can still access it from your laptop, of course, but the gesture itself will prove to yourself that you’re making an effort.

Change it up

It’s never too late to try something new, not even in the last semester of your last year. You might not have time to become a district champion of the activity you choose, but there’s nothing wrong with joining a club just for fun instead of looking to win. The trick is to avoid forcing yourself into it. If you do, it becomes an obligation just like anything else, and just another reason to lose motivation. If you’re not looking forward to it every week, then find another club.

After all, the point is to enjoy the learning process — possibly meet new friends, or discover a new hobby. Isn’t that what school should be, anyway?

About the Writer
Juliette Roberts, Copy Editor

Juliette Roberts is spending her second year on the Panther Prints staff as one half of the copy-editing team. She enjoyed learning the ins and outs of...

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