BY: SUSAN KATHERINE CORKRAN
There are certain traditions accompanying graduation that seem inescapable. Bookstores are filled with special copies of “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” and teddy bears in graduation gowns. Grocery stores proudly display balloons shaped like caps and diplomas with the year carefully printed in golden lettering above the rows of graduation celebration cakes. Many families proudly assemble to watch each hour of the ceremony with relatives flocking in to offer congratulations to the graduate whose accomplishment will be commemorated with countless cards, sentimental quotes and flowers. Family parties are held, photos are taken and everyone begins to talk about the future.
But what happens before this? There is something else just as strongly tied to senior year. Yet this particular custom is devoid of the optimism of graduation praise. The word senioritis echoes endlessly throughout the final two semesters, whether uttered as an expression of sympathy or declaration of apathy. As I prepare to begin my senior year of undergrad, I have to wonder: how real is the phenomenon of senioritis? Why should the happiest celebration of four years worth of hard work be preceded by such negativity?
The more thought I gave it, the more determined I was to make sure that my final year at George Mason would be a strong, happy year free from senioritis. I’ve come up with the following goals and ideas to combat any of the complacency, stress and exhaustion that typically makes up the worst symptoms of senioritis. It’s an experimental immunization, but if it can help prevent even a single case of senioritis, I would consider it time well spent.
- Make every moment count. I’ve decided that I want to make a photo album of my senior year. Tempus fugit (time flies), and before it flies by me, I want to set aside memories to hold onto after I’ve walked across the stage to accept my diploma. The little things that we don’t think twice about in our day to day lives will become precious when we look back and recollect. Where did you go for lunch? Which friends did you spend time with? What was it like to see the leaves begin to change color on campus and when was the first snow day? There are so many precious, tiny snapshots that I want to preserve.
- Actually use a planner. I know that I am not the only student guilty of neglecting the color-coded grids of that agenda I swore I was really going to use this semester. Work piles up, and as old-school as it sounds, the best way to keep your head above the stress of any school year is to plan out time. Once you’ve laid out a realistic schedule, you can budget your time to make sure that all of the priorities in your life are balanced.
- Don’t forget to make your health one of those priorities! How many memes of coffee-dependent, sleep-deprived, red-eyed college students have we all laughed at and shared over the years? And how many times have we resembled those pitiful creatures ourselves? It shouldn’t be a mark of pride to run off of espresso and anxiety. The truth is, if we are not taking care of our minds and bodies, we are failing to see to the most important task we have. All-nighters are never the solution to a challenging project or looming exam. Senior year is the final stretch. If we all make the effort to pace ourselves and work our hardest, there is no reason not to cross the finish line with pride.
- And, lastly, take a chance. This is your last year to connect to your fellow Patriots, join a new club, and put yourself out there to experience all that college can be. If you want to audition for a play, try out for a sport or do something outside of your comfort zone, now is the time. Good luck!