How to Battle Senioritis in the Last Year of Your Degree
A University of Alberta student shares their tips on how to get through the final year of your degree.
Dictionary.com defines senioritis as “a decline in motivation or academic performance that supposedly afflicts some seniors in high school, especially in their last term.” I am definitely not at the end of my high school career, but this definition describes how I have been feeling for the past few months at the end of my five-year undergraduate career.
I’m sure that motivation and energy generally runs low towards the end of university degrees in general, but adding the slew of sludge that the pandemic has added to our brains, even crawling to the finish line seems like a Herculean task. BUT! I didn’t come this far just to come this far. So, I’ve compiled a few activities and suggestions that I plan on trying on to squeeze out the last few drops of motivation I have left so that I can properly enjoy the last year of my degree.
Try to reinvigorate your interests
A major worry that I’ve been struggling with is the possibility that I simply don’t enjoy what I am studying anymore. As someone who has moved faculties and majors more times than I’d like to admit, this isn’t all too impossible. Not that I didn’t think long and hard before changing majors before, but I think being in the last year of my degree warrants thinking about it just a little bit more. For me, that means finding inspiring videos about educators and students to try and reignite my passion for teaching. It also means spending time with other students in my degree that haven’t been hit by senioritis to try and absorb some of their passion and excitement. It can look like different things for different people, but the important thing is to surround yourself with people that exude the passion and excitement you oh-so miss!
See your degree from a different angle
This is something that you might implicitly end up doing by trying to reinvigorate your interests but I think that this is particularly useful for the days when you feel like you aren’t learning anything that feels important to you from your degree. I’m sure we have all had classes where we reach the end of it and think to ourselves… so what? I’ve learned that this is no fault of the course, the professor or the student. Rather, I believe that it’s just a result of getting lost in the flow of schoolwork and the importance of doing well in a course. What I mean by seeing your degree from a different perspective is reflecting on what you have learned from your courses, explicitly or implicitly, beyond what can be tested on an exam. For example, being able to plan out your study time and buckle down to study when you don’t really feel like it shows skills such as time management and persistence. What you learn while you’re learning content for your degree is just as important as the content itself!
I definitely missed going to campus while we were stuck learning remotely — which might sound a bit unbelievable considering how little motivation I’ve actually had to go to school recently! I’m sure that I will feel nostalgic for campus and my undergraduate experience when it is gone. Even if I decide to get a graduate degree, I’m sure that the experience won’t feel exactly the same as now. Instead of thinking about how much longer you have until graduation, try to think about how much time you have left to enjoy this experience. Try to savour it! Revisit your favourite places on campus and revisit your favourite moments from your undergrad to ground yourself.
Treat it like a job
When all else fails, treat it like a job! I understand that financially this is the exact opposite of a job, but if treating your degree like a job and holding yourself to the same standards that an employer would can help motivate you to finish your degree strong...why not! You’d also kill two birds with one stone since treating your schoolwork like a professional job will also be a great way to build those skills I mentioned earlier.
The end of anything is always the hardest part. Just remember that you didn’t come this far just to come this far. We got this!
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