The “senior slide” is real. I went through the slump at the end of my high school career. There were clear signs. Assignments got pushed off or forgotten. The level of effort put into work wasn’t what it had been earlier in the year. Grades didn’t matter to me anymore.
Recently, I’ve caught myself in a similar slide. Things have been falling behind and I’ve left a few of them there. When you get close to the end, you just want to be done, or at least that’s how I feel. I’ll give myself credit that at least the work I’ve been doing still gets done well. The question is just when?
I had the wake-up call I needed to jump off the senior slide during my graduation portraits. I signed up for a time slot with the photographer coming to campus weeks ago, but it got tucked away in the back of my mind with the rest of the things I had to get done. But going to that portrait session early afternoon on Halloween, I realized something important: It’s not over until you’re in your cap and gown. I still have the rest of this semester and the next before I can allow myself to let go of school. I still have a chance to graduate with honors, if I start giving my school work the attention it needs. I’ve written blog posts in the past about time management and balancing responsibilities. Now I need to heed my own advice.
It’s taken a lot of work, but I’ve moved through piece by piece to pick up the pace again. It started with my internship work. I met with my supervisor to talk about what I’d been doing and what projects she had for me next. We worked out a plan with a schedule that suited my workload. Then I moved on to courses. I’m fortunate that one of my classes works on soft deadlines so I can still turn in those missing assignments for full credit. As for catching up on lecture videos, the option to speed the video up a tad forces me to pay attention and take notes so I don’t miss anything. My other classes are just a matter of getting back on track. I had to dedicate more time to catching up, even if that meant giving up on some social events or club meetings for the week.
So far it’s been working. In one week I worked through two and a half weeks’ worth of lectures, assignments, and research. I’ve still got another week’s lessons to finish, plus the current week’s work (when I say I got behind, I really meant it). But the more I get through, the less overwhelmed I feel. There’s a lesson in here somewhere about only taking on as much as you can handle. But the more important lesson is keep on top of what you do take on.
Consider how you want to finish your college career. I’d like to earn cords for graduation. I’d like to finish on the Dean’s list again. These goals are achievable, if I stay off the senior slide. If nothing else will motivate me, it’s this: The more you get behind, the more catching up you have to do. So keep yourself on schedule and you’ll be able to get through each semester with the least amount of extra work (and extra stress) as possible.
Take my advice, avoid the senior slide.