Confession time. I loved my undergrad experience, but last semester of my senior year, it was really hard to stay motivated. I had already technically earned enough credits to graduate, so I was only taking enough credits to stay a part-time student. Something I didn’t realize at the time was that by taking minimum credits, I kept myself off the dean’s list: at my college, you had to be taking 16 credits for the dean’s list, and I was only taking 12. So, on the one hand, it was nice to have an easy spring semester that gave me a chance to look toward my future and not suffer too much from my senioritis (which was definitely in full effect).
On the other hand, even though my GPA was awesome, I missed out on making the dean’s list my last semester as a college student. If you’re in the middle of spring semester already and are suffering from a bad bout of senior year senioritis, check out these do’s and don’ts to stay motivated and keep on top of your goals for graduation.
- Don’t ignore your GPA. This is your last hurrah, and you don’t want this last semester to bring down your grades and mess up your chance to graduate with honors. Believe it or not, if you graduate with honors you can list that on your resume or CV for your whole professional career. This is even more important if you’re headed straight to grad school: they do not want to see that your performance has dropped after they accepted you.
- Don’t get into trouble. Sure, this seems like the time to let it all loose, but do you really want to have to face down college security (or the police!) for a prank gone wrong? I’m not saying not to take risks, but I am saying that you should look at the consequences of your potential actions pretty carefully before you take those risks.
- Don’t alienate your profs or your peers. You may be exhausted and burned out, but this is your last semester with your friends all being in the same place. Enjoy those relationships while they’re close by. And while your professors will certainly understand the symptoms of senioritis, remember that they haven’t done anything to earn your ire other than teach your spring semester classes. Try to take advantage of what they have to teach, even as you’re looking to the future.
- Try something new. There’s nothing that will freshen up the college experience like doing something you’ve thought about your whole time on campus but never tried. Try a club, join a team, get involved with a production or go to that restaurant in town that has the poetry mic nights. You can even host a senioritis party to commiserate with friends who feel the same way; maybe they’ll have some tips! Get out there and expand your horizons.
- Avoid unnecessary drama. Just like the “don’t get into trouble” tip above, this one will help you in the long run. You don’t want to get embroiled in petty gossip about the love lives of your friends (or people who aren’t your friends) at the end of your time together. I played a prank on a friend that I thought was harmless shortly before graduation; he was furious that I’d lied to him, and it almost cost me an important friendship.
- Think about what’s coming next. The summer after your senior year of college can be really stressful if you haven’t already thought about what you’re going to do. Are you job hunting? Looking for an internship? Are you planning to crash with your parents or do you have college friends you’ll be rooming with while you look to be gainfully employed? Do you have requirements you have to finish before you start grad school in the fall? Make sure you know what’s coming so that none of it sneaks up on you.
And if you’re like I was, chilling with just 12 credits, then you can use that extra time in your schedule wisely: get ready for what comes next, and enjoy the time you have left. You can do a better job of it than I did!