Friday, April 14, 2017

The Final Countdown: Tips for Avoiding Senior Burnout

With less than a month left of the academic year, the class of 2017 is getting ready to say goodbye to Tufts. However, I think I speak for many seniors when I say that some goodbyes were said long ago: goodbye motivation, goodbye work ethic, goodbye ability to focus. Senior burnout - also known as senioritis, also known as "exhaustion due to 4 years of intensive academic study - is a pretty common phenomenon for college seniors across the nation. In my first post of the year, I wrote about embracing your inner SWUG during senior year, and trying to lead a worry- and regret-free lifestyle for the last year of college. While that still holds true, there's a very fine line between living up senior year and jeopardizing your GPA or future job prospects. Now is not the time to lose motivation, especially if you don't have a job yet. Here are some tips I'm trying to live by to ensure that I stay on track until the very end.
Leslie Knope in the episode where she gets recalled is me during senior spring.

Keep your eyes on the prize.
Right now, everything I do seems so insignificant. Why do I have to finish this problem set? Why do I need to write this paper? I have a job, nothing else matters! This may be true, and it's certainly okay to cut back a little bit on the stress of schoolwork, but I try to remind myself that the only reason I got a job was because of my commitment to my academics. If I let my GPA slip in the last few weeks of my college career, it could have long-term implications on both my career and grad school prospects. There's a light at the end of the tunnel, but I'll still have to work to get there.

Appreciate college while you can. There are times when I'm so over college - the erratic schedules, the constant workload hanging over your head, the STRESS - but there's a lot about the college lifestyle that is so unique, and that you'll never really get back. You're surrounded by people in your age group, who are all on similarly strange schedules that allow you to spend time with them throughout the week; you have (some) control over planning your schedule, and you can change it every few months; and you get to be immersed in an exciting and constantly changing academic institution that encourages you to think critically and actively about the world around you. I'm trying to embrace the full college experience, good and bad, before it ends.

Live a balanced life. With midterms weighing us all down, and finals looming in the not-too-distant future, we're all under a lot more stress than we'd like to be in our last weeks at Tufts. I'm trying to utilize all the time management skills that four years of college taught me to make sure that I'm staying physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy. Take lots of study breaks, try to do things that make you happy, and now that the weather is (finally) showing signs of spring, get outside and soak up some sun!

Find your people.  I have come to appreciate my friends so much in the past four years, but more than ever this past semester. In addition to being generally fantastic people, they're all experiencing what I am (at least, those who are seniors). Having people to talk about shared experiences is such an important part of getting through times when your motivation is low. And in the end, it's much easier to cross the finish line if you have someone to support you.

Alright, now that this menial task of writing a short blog post about myself is over, I'm going to take a quick 2-day nap. Keep up the energy as you head into finals, and to the class of 2017: we can do this. Look at how far we've already come.

Until next time,
Sean Boyden
Class of 2017