The Cure for Senioritis — and Other Admissions Stress (I wish it were this easy) AND Some Basic Second Semester Senior Housekeeping (2023 Updates)
If you’re feeling a little bit of senioritis, please know the struggle is real. And if you’re feeling even more worried about your college applications now than you were before you submitted them, you are not alone! Letting go of control is no easy task. And, I mean what a year 2023 has already been! We’ve been overwhelmed with the inundation of social media, constant rapidly changing news, all while trying to wrap our heads around all the political rhetoric. But, while I don’t know or understand a lot about what’s happening around me, here’s what I do know:
You are equipped to care for yourselves and our future. We deal with stress and anxiety every day in the college admissions journey. And that thought leads me to realize that your generation, you — the amazing Gen Z, are absolutely equipped for this ordeal. You are resilient. You are experienced with handling your stress and many of you have been proactive in learning the mechanisms for dealing with stress and anxiety on a regular level. Nevertheless, this stress is — no doubt — leveling up.
You know that life can feel like it’s falling apart and that you will survive it. You know that we need a little wind in our lives to make us stronger. You know, that just like those baby trees in the biosphere that fell down when they didn’t have anything pushing on them — we need some stress in our lives. If you aren’t familiar with my take on the trees in the biosphere, you can read more about it in my post from December.
But let’s be real — there’s stress and then there’s stress. So, I want you to be especially careful with yourselves now. And please know that even if you feel like you are all alone in this college admissions journey, you don’t have to remain distant from the world. We can be alone in all this together.
Before I move on to the Cures for Senioritis, I want to share a few Second Semester Senior Housekeeping Tips.
KEEP UP WITH YOUR COLLEGE ADMISSIONS STUFF:
- PORTALS: Check your portals regularly (not obsessively), to make sure everything is turned in.
- DEMONSTRATED INTEREST: If the colleges consider interest, stay engaged — website, read emails and click links, social media page (you can find out if colleges consider Demonstrated Interest or engagement on the Common Data Set (google “common data set and school name.”
- LOCI: Write your LOCI if you were deferred. Here’s a link to my How to Write a LOCI.
- INTERVIEWS: Check your email and voice mails for interview arrangements. Here’s a link to my Step by Step Guide to Online Interviews.
- UPDATES: Consider sending an update if you have something important to share that’s changed since you last applied (major awards, accomplishments, test scores, improved grades from mid-semester, etc)
- COLLEGE LIST: If you’re not completely comfortable with your college list and feel like you need to flesh it out a little more or add some Sure Bet Schools — see my recent post with colleges with some of my favorite colleges with deadlines of Feb 1 or later.
Curing Your Senioritis
I mean I wish I could say “take two aspirin and call me in the morning,” but it’s not quite that simple. It does require you to engage and take some action — some investing in yourself (more on that later…)
- TAKE A BREAK: First, it’s okay to give yourselves a break. Stop what you’re doing and just be still. Don’t worry about any kind of position or what to focus on. Just set your phone timer for any amount of time that feels right for you, turn off your notifications, and do nothing. Your brain needs a break at times. It’s been going full-on probably since always, so let those brain batteries recharge. I promise it helps.
- EMBRACE THE NOT-KNOWING: We NEVER know what’s going to happen in life, and often no matter how we plan, how we think we know where we’re headed, we end up going a different route that we might not have chosen or even known about, and we wouldn’t want it any other way. You have no idea what the decisions colleges will make about your application, and it’s scary, but embrace that feeling of not-knowing. Gather it around you and do brave things, knowing that no matter what decision any college makes, YOU are gonna be just fine.
- BEING RESCINDED IS A REAL THING: It’s not that common, but you need to be mindful. I’ll be making a post about what you need to know about being rescinded in the next couple of weeks, but you can check out my post from last year now if you’re worried.
- KEEP UP YOUR GRADES: Don’t let your grades drop below a grade level or two and don’t let it happen in more than a class or two.
- DON’T GO CRAZY ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Don’t make obnoxious posts, no matter how frustrated you are or how edgy you want to be. Being rescinded for social media posts, whether posted by you or someone who recorded you is very real. I’m going to share a post about being rescinded next week sometime, but just keep plugging away in your classes and put kindness first in your life — it’s needed now more than ever. media posts, whether posted by you or someone who recorded you is very real. Put kindness first in your life — it’s needed now more than ever.
- LET COLLEGES KNOW IF YOUR LIFE IS GETTING MESSY: If circumstances in your life are creating difficulties with your classes and your grades are falling, be open with admissions offices, especially if you are caring for sick family members, you have limited access to technology or the internet, you have had to take on more job or family responsibilities because of the economic crisis, or you’ve been sick yourself. Colleges want to know about these kinds of circumstances and if you didn’t use the additional info section to discuss your situation or your circumstances have changed because of the craziness of the world we live in (or just because life is hard sometimes), send them an update. You can find out more about how to write this update by reading this post about Supplemental Essays. Scroll to the Additional Info section
- MAKE YOUR BED AND CLEAN YOUR ROOM: When we are feeling overwhelmed by life, it can be easy to let things go — but keeping up with the space around you and finding some physical and mental space to breathe can be important. Make your bed first thing in the morning. Clean up all that garbage on your floor. Gather your clothes and toss them in the laundry basket. Take all your dirty dishes to the kitchen and put them in the dishwasher. Wipe up sticky surfaces.
- CONNECT WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS: Now is the prime time for you to start those game nights and family dinner nights. Maybe hang out with siblings that you haven’t had time for before.
- LEARN SOMETHING NEW: Maybe pick up a new hobby. Have you ever wanted to learn Italian or coding? Or how to play guitar? Now’s your chance. If you haven’t yet delved into yoga, meditation, and mindfulness, understanding your mind-body connection will help you as you move forward into college.
- READ BOOKS: Maybe you’ve never had time to read all those books you hear about and want to try. Pick a few that interest you and get going. I love listening to books while I walk. Reading and having fiction be part of your life builds your ability to process, gain empathy for others, and encourages your creativity. Here are three suggestions of books I’ve loved in the last year: The Midnight Library (I believe this book should be required reading for students applying to college), Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow , Project Hail Mary
- COLLECT MOMENTS OF JOY: It’s easy for us to get wrapped up in all the bad and stressful stuff of our lives, and for sure, there’s some stressful stuff happening right now, but there’s still some good. Collect those small moments of joy in your life and you’ll see that they can add up. Maybe it’s new snow on the ground, or a brilliant blue sky like I can look up and see in Houston right now. Maybe it’s a quick snuggle with your dog or cat or a giggle with a sibling or a friend. Maybe it’s a smile you give someone else. Maybe it’s a funny post you saw here on A2C or a line in a book you just read. Even if you feel like your life just sucks right now because of all the shit that’s happening around you and school and college admissions and… and… and…, there are moments of joy. Collect them.
Think of this Semester as a Gift
Look, I know we are in crazy times, so it’s hard to think about anything right now as a gift, but in many ways it is. You will never get back this time in high school and you’ll never get back this time at home with your family. This is a time for you to sit back, reflect on your life, what you’ve done, and where you want to go, and most importantly, what is happening to you right now.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I spend my time and how I invest my time, and what the difference is. I need to do a little of both, for sure, but I want to invest my time in learning and growing as a person, in building relationships with those around me, and creating space for myself to experience life in ways I might not yet have been able to. That means I’m trying to invest my time in reading, walking, and hopefully learning to do new things and about new ideas. The gift of second-semester senior year allows many of you an opportunity to sit back and think about how you want to invest your time. Still, sometimes the best way I can invest my time is investing in doing nothing, or NetFlix binging, or just hanging out with friends. To me, the biggest difference is spending even that kind of relaxed, doing-nothing time intentionally.
If you find yourself overwhelmed in the moment (and we all do sometimes)
Here’s a little trick I like to do — maybe give it a try yourself: Ground yourself in the present moment by listing 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can feel, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste.
Senioritis is totally normal; you are not alone. Senioritis during a global pandemic that’s been happening for two years among political unrest and unprecedented universal anxiety — definitely nothing normal about that, but your feelings are. The cure? Take time to recharge batteries, keep up your grades, be nice to others, try something new, connect with yourself, and breathe.
Also, check out Let’s Talk about Senioritis on my YouTube Live Stream. I chatted with a couple of students who were seniors last year about dealing with senioritis, and all things second-semester seniors.