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If a slump continues or is severe, a student should visit Counseling Services

Staying Motivated: Avoiding a Senior Slump

One poor test grade. Two late assignments. Three missed classes.

For some students, the first telltale signs may begin as finals week draws near. For others, their inception may hold out until mid March. And for a lucky few, they may never start.

Senioritis.

Also referred to as senior slump, senioritis is a feeling of academic apathy that creeps up on students during their final year. And while its symptoms can vary from student to student, its consequences shouldn't be taken lightly.

Recognizing Symptoms

If your student experienced a senior slump during high school, you may recall the tiredness, crankiness and disengaged attitude he/she felt during the latter months of that year. Similarly, a collegiate senior slump may include:

  • oversleeping
  • missed classes and assignments
  • low test scores
  • forgetfulness and lack of concentration
  • boredom and disinterest with academics
  • low motivation for studying
  • high interest in having fun and socializing
  • moodiness

What's Going On?

For many students, there may be multiple precipitating factors leading to a slump. They can include the anticipation of losing friends and the comfortable setting of campus life as well as being scared of not finding employment or doing poorly in graduate school.

For others, they may be concerned about losing autonomy by moving back home or saying good-bye to loved ones due to relocation for graduate school or a job.

And still others may be mourning their "lost youth" in feeling their carefree days of late night partying and sleeping in are nearing their end. On a more obvious note, it may be that your student is truly stressed and/or anxious due to a challenging semester.

Bad Input = Bad Output

A week of senioritis may have little effect on grades and/or physical and mental health. However, prolonged senioritis can be damaging. Grades can be significantly lowered. At the extreme end, graduation may even be compromised.

In addition, professors asked to write letters of recommendation or serve as resume references may be put in an awkward position if contacted by students who have been truant or performed poorly.

Tips for Avoiding or Minimizing a Slump

Supporting a senior who may be in a slump or heading for one is important. The following tips can help students ward off or minimize its effects:

  • Avoid overload by scheduling courses, work commitments and co-curricular involvement accordingly.
  • Focus on success—a completed project, good test grade, scheduled job interview.
  • Have a "to do" list and prioritize.
  • Avoid overusing social media and the web, which can consume hours of time.
  • Focus on wellness—eat healthy, exercise, and find ways to de-stress.
  • Have an optimistic outlook.

 

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