It's that time of year. Parents and teachers dread it and students can't escape the terrible disease that sweeps nations every January and February. Countless teenagers worldwide -- typically between the ages of 17 and 18 -- are afflicted with this baffling, often lethal (yes, lethal!!) phenomenon called "senioritis," whose symptoms include carelessness, lethargy, as well as decreased motivation, punctuality and willingness to learn.
Seniors, no one can really blame us, I know. College applications are complete (excuse me while I kiss the sky), some of us lucky ones have already been accepted to schools we applied to early (congrats!) and after a particularly grueling first semester, nothing seems to matter in comparison. We're done, guys. We made it.
Except not at all.
I'm sure you get enough crap about it from your teachers, but hear it from a fellow senior: the last semester of senior year really does matter. It's indispensible that you treat it like you would any other semester of any other year, because if you don't, there could be vicious consequences (and possibly even death).
You can avoid that (as well as death), however, by following these 7 tips to fighting this wickedly tempting ailment -- all the while staying sane:
1. Keep in mind these often-overlooked possibilities:
- Colleges will reconsider their admission decisions if your GPA falls to a certain point, especially if there are financial packages involved with your acceptance.
- Unexcused absences or unsatisfactory grades in a course can prevent you from passing it, which looks terrible on a transcript.
- In addition, too many unexcused lates or absences might affect your ability to receive a high school diploma.
- Almost all schools request midyear and final grade reports, meaning your performance for the ENTIRE YEAR will be passed on to them. Don't disappoint your dream schools when you've come so far!
Is that enough to scare you?
2. Remember: you've got less than six months left.
You've worked yourself way too hard for the past three years to give up now. Apply some of the non-academic lessons you learned in high school to this period of your life. As is the case with your school's home football games, your AP Government debates and your seasonal band concerts, it is of upmost importance that you finish strong.
3. Consider your parents.
The biggest role they will play in college is funding your future. They'll shell out tens, possibly hundreds, of thousands of dollars for your education, so show them gratitude and work at helping minimize those costs. Many merit-based and private scholarships have a grade cutoff just for consideration. Make yourself stand out as the best possible candidate for financial aid by keeping your grades up.
4. This is your chance to become a better you.
A fitter you. A more interesting you. A worldlier you. This moment until the first step you take on your college campus is the only shot you'll have at changing yourself for the better. Rather than spending your free time watching movies you Torrented or scrolling through Facebook all evening, take that kickboxing class you always wanted to try. Start the cooking blog you know you can succeed at. Read the entire unabridged "Anna Karenina," just for the sake of impressing people. "All 1200 pages of Tolstoy's most famous work are heartbreaking and tragic," you can brag to your future unworldly, inexperienced roommate. "It was absolutely grand, absolutely mahhhvelous."
5. Keep a daily -- or at least weekly -- checklist.
This one certainly wins the lame award, but it will keep you on track, I promise. Every day, write down five or six things you need to accomplish by midnight, whether it be homework assignments, chores, or anything else you need to be reminded of. Having a list of things to do right in front of you in ink really makes you want to get it done.
Hopefully the school workload is a little lighter these days, so you won't have to pull any more all-nighters. Falling asleep during class and sleeping in will, as always, affect your academic performance. Now that you have a little more time on your hands, do your best to get in at least six hours of sleep. You'll thank me tomorrow morning.
7. Get vaccinated.
It's never too late to warn students of senioritis's symptoms, right? The dwindling homework submission rate, the constant lateness or absences, the tremendous procrastination, the daily six-hour-long naps -- sound familiar? Know all the risks of senioritis early so you can prevent it early.
Prevention methods include planning in advance the electives you want to take or the extracurriculars you want to try, always staying on a tangible schedule, and making an actual effort to stay immune.
You've only got a few months left before this chapter of your life ends. Start the next one -- the college chapter -- fresh and on good terms by controlling what you can now, because you honestly never know what's ahead.