CollegeEducation

Senioritis is all too real, especially with it being finals season, and even graduation soon for some students. While procrastination is already heavily prevalent across all colleges, senioritis is exceptionally worse. Keep reading to learn some strategies on how to stay focused on work, graduation, and post-grad plans.

The end of the semester is either the last thing on your mind because of the mounds and mounds of work you have left to do, or the very first thing on your mind – summer vacation! Yet for many seniors, the prospect of the end of the semester is both exciting and terrifying. Not only are you worrying about all of your classwork, you’re also pouring over graduate school or job applications, apartment listings, and trying to hang out with your friends as often as possible before you all go off into the real world.

How seniors approach the end of the semester can either be stressing out about all of the above, or just acting very apathetic to the work in front of them. Many fall somewhere in between, yet neither is quite healthy for your mind or your grades. Here are some tips to stay focused all the way to the end and still enjoy their last semester in college.

Stay Organized

The quickest way to senioritis, skipping classes, and unintentionally lowering your grades is by not staying organized. If you have your schedule written out on five different pieces of paper and you’ve suddenly reverted to being a freshman in high school and losing all of your homework, you need to either invest in a school planner, or start using a calendar on your phone. Between a constantly changing softball schedule, class hours and my on campus job, Google calendar is my lifesaver.

I’m a list maker. I make lists for literally everything: groceries, homework due, what I’m eating during the day, what non-homework things I need to get done, you name it. So because of that, I have two constant lists: Homework To Do, and Other To Do. Oftentimes the “other” is what I call “productive procrastination” – looking at job sites, car dealerships, recipes my friends and I want to try when we’re off the meal plan, and things my parents want to do when they come out for my graduation. These are all things I have to do at some point anyway, so whenever I’m feeling extra unmotivated to do homework, I switch over to my other list and see what I need to get done.

Juggling all that needs to get done before graduation can cause anyone’s head to whirl. Sometimes it can be too much, but it doesn’t have to be. Alternate what kind of work you do which days: Monday/Wednesday/Friday you do school work, and Tuesday/Thursday you spend the day job searching and apartment hunting. That way, you stay on top of both without stressing yourself out too much.

Take Care of Yourself

Taking care of yourself is knowing what you can and cannot do during the day without going insane. That includes getting as much good sleep as possible, eating well multiple times a day (taking snacks to class if you don’t have time for lunch works well), and even exercising on a semi-regular basis. These small things are often overlooked, but are essential to not going crazy.

Instead of attempting to pull an all-nighter, when you feel like you’re too tired to do any more work, take a shower and go to bed. It’s better to do it the next day when you are feeling more energized than attempt to carry on working in a half-zombie state of mind.

Take an hour or so out of your day to go to the gym or take a nice walk. It can also be a social hour if you feel like you haven’t been able to spend enough time with friends.

Spend Time With Your Friends

Before you know it, your friend group is going to be pulled apart in different directions as people follow their dream job or attend grad school. Make some time every day to catch up with someone, it can be as small as getting coffee or as big as a shopping day or going to a baseball game, so that you don’t feel like you’ve wasted your last semester of college.

Find Motivation

This might be an odd thing to have on a list of way to keep yourself motivated, but sometimes it’s really that simple. For some, their motivating drive stems from getting their work done so that the end of the semester can be spent relaxing with friends. For others, it can be the pending email about a job prospect. Yet for a whole other group, they need small, attainable goals to keep them motivated for the last two months of the semester. It’s very easy to be so stressed out that you end up doing nothing productive – don’t fall into that black hole. Instead, set a small goal of completing your homework for the day and rewarding yourself with an episode of your favorite show (ONE episode – small goal, small reward!).

Make Playlists for Different Moods

Some people do this for fun, and some dread it (like myself). As someone that will listen to anything, I’m not always aware of what kinds of music affects me when. However, I’ve noticed that I do more and better work when I’m listening to instrumental music rather than top 40 hits. But to get out of bed, I need something pop-y and fresh to get me going for my 9:30am class. Whether you make your own playlists or borrow from Spotify (that’s what I do), find your fit.

Set Aside Guilt-Free Time For Fun

It’s still college, after all. You will remember that time you and your friend spent all day contemplating the importance of a (very) attractive side character of your favorite show than the night you spent doing work. After landing your first job or getting your master’s degree, your GPA won’t matter. It’s about the experiences and memories. Know what is important and what is important to you, and find the best balance of both. If that means forcing your friend to do homework with you so that you can see her AND study for that test on Friday, then do it. If you choose to go out with the boys tonight, just remember to make up that work the next day. Life is all about balance, so find yours.

Image: Flickr

CollegeEducationLearn

I don’t know how many of you out there are working on a senior project, but let me tell you something: it’s hard. It’s really hard. On a scale of “ugh” to “I’m going to drop out of school and move into a forest to be a hermit,” I’m pretty close to the latter. For those of you who are going to wind up doing something like a senior capstone or a thesis (or for those of you who are in it and are suffering like me), here are some things you should keep in mind:

1. It’s never too early.

I so regret not starting my project half a year ago. You’re thinking, how can you plan a project or a paper or something half a year ago if you don’t even know what you’re doing? Well, that’s when you should start thinking about it! Spend your winter vacation or summer vacation reading up on what you’re doing your project on. If you’re a literature major, you can start researching authors, writing snippets, and outlining a draft. If you’re in the arts, you can start looking for influential artists and start messing around with various materials or techniques.

2. Talk to people.

Tell them you’re doing a thesis. Ask for their opinion. Be open to references or new ideas. I’m working on a photo thesis and a large point of it is process, progress, development. If you’re stuck with tunnel vision, your ideas or projects can’t really grow.

3. Try new things.

Another way to being open to ideas is gaining more experience. Go gallery hopping on the weekend with a friend who would appreciate contemporary art. Wander through a new section of the bookstore you never really thought you’d like. Wander around and study the architecture of your neighborhood, and stop by a cafe you’ve probably passed every day but never bothered to go into. If you’re stuck on an idea, a refreshing environment might help.

4. Be honest with yourself.

Is this project too easy? Is it too ambitious? Do I have the skills? Do I have enough information? Do I believe what I’m saying? Will I be willing to work on this for four months straight? Eight months straight? How much do I care about this? These are all important questions that you need to truly consider. Be brutally, objectively honest. You’ll save yourself trouble, embarrassment, and time if you admit to your weaknesses and find your strengths.

5. Don’t give up.

Now this one is important. Don’t be discouraged if things don’t work out the first, second, third, or fourth time (I’ve had to modify my idea that many times… ugh). Sometimes you’re just scratching the surface and you realize that after some trial and error. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, but do try to learn from them. Keep going at it, you’ll definitely get it. Everyone works at a different pace, so just work at your own.

All of you out there working on your long­term projects, good luck. There is a long road ahead, but it will be rewarding. Have faith, don’t lose hope, and keep that chin up. See you on the flip side!