Beating Back Senioritis

By: Adair Bingham

As fall term ends, I’m entering my last months at Portland State University. Another term of remote learning was by no means ideal, but I’ve managed to make the best of it, despite senioritis setting in. 

For those unfamiliar with the concept, senioritis is a colloquial term for a student’s supposed decrease in motivation during their last year of school, and I’d argue that it is a very real thing. 

In my case, the virtual classroom environment has not helped. Staying up to date with my readings, homework, or even just remembering to go to class has become a hassle. School itself feels distant now. Everything feels more abstract when they all take place on a computer screen. My entire sense of schedule almost feels non-existent. I often forget what day of the week it is and motivation feels slim when there’s no conceivable way to physically go to class. Who would have known that something as small as a few cups of coffee in the morning before heading to class was such a factor in my work motivation. 

Instead of working, I find myself doing literally anything else and school assignments have become infinitely more grueling. I’m constantly dozing off and I’m usually caught up in my own mind. If not that, then I’m aimlessly binding my time with game emulators. I’m still committed to my coursework, naturally, but school increasingly has found its way to the back of my brain. I often find myself more preoccupied with other thoughts; some important and some not. These days, I find myself more interested in over-analyzing the little nuance of character interactions from my favorite franchises. It’s even got to the point where I’ve had to dump all of these thoughts in word documents of their own, their word counts often far-exceeding those of my required assignments. Strangely, though, these documents help to remind me of why I work so hard in the first place and always see things through to the end. They have been a valuable tool in beating back senioritis and have overall made work not only tolerable, but also enjoyable. 

This isn’t my first time tangling with senioritis — after all, I was a senior once before. I have my own method of madness, so to speak, to navigate this strange phenomenon, but that isn’t to say that it’s any less of a hassle to deal with. What works for me is to keep myself occupied at all times, whether through extracurricular activities or simple leisurely hobbies; anything to keep both mind and hands busy. It’s when I stop that the feeling sets in, and I can’t afford to lose gumption now that graduation is in sight. 

I find what’s effective for me is to set goals that I know are attainable. By this I mean small things that I know I will be able to carry out between now and my up and coming graduation, like finishing my next storyboard or modeling one more character. These rewarding projects are small enough for me to complete in a few months, but also engrossing enough to keep me working at a reasonable pace. I find that the extra work grounds me and gives me more incentive to finish the other things on my plate, such as school. Having more to do, at least for me, helps me to set a working pace for myself. 

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from this affliction, though, is the somewhat surprising lesson that I tend to work harder if there are more things on my plate. I forget a million things a day, but I can’t forget just how hard I’ve worked to get where I am or let senioritis get the best of me, especially this far in the game.

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