Track coaches always say: “It’s not how you start a race; it’s how you finish it.” At this time of year, college and high school seniors are seeing the finish line of their race to graduation. If you are rounding the curve and getting to that final sprint, the going might be getting tough now. Just as you need one last burst of academic energy, that infamous “senioritis” might be setting in. You might be doing a zombie walk through your daily schedule, your mind a fog of boredom for the present and of anxiety for the future. You might be losing your motivation to finish your race strong.

If you can relate to this scenario, you are not alone. Look around you. You’ll see the effects of senioritis everywhere. The National Association of College Counseling even devotes an entire web page on their site to this affliction.  Although teachers joke about it and the web is full of funny memes about it, senioritis can have serious implications for your future.

 NBC news reported last year that as many as 22% of colleges had revoked college acceptances for high school seniors based on their final grades. Senioritis can also destroy your scores for those spring AP exams that you’ve been planning for the entire year. College seniors have a lot of paperwork to do that will affect their graduation and internship or job prospects. At this stage of the race, senioritis can trip you up just as you are heading out into the world.

So make up your mind now to meet your senioritis head on. Here are a few tips to help you finish the year strong and be ready to move on to the next step toward your future.

1.Recommit to what’s happening in your life NOW.

Waiting impatiently and wishing the year to be over is going to make it seem all that much longer. And, after it’s gone, you’ll wonder why you were so anxious to get it over with. Get back in touch with those commitments you made to your academics and extracurriculars so you can squeeze every last bit of benefit from them. Grab onto one important concept in every class. Take notes. Laugh at your teacher’s jokes. Make time to hang out with friends who you won’t see regularly next year. A little more attention now will help fight senioritis and assure that you make all the memories you can before graduation.

2. Write a letter to your future self.

Write a letter or a few journal entries to the self you will become in the future. Describe what your life is like now — both the bad and the good. Your memory of these last few months of high school or college will fade away, and the person you are now will disappear into that new future you. Hold on to this moment in your life by writing down what you are thinking about the present and the past. It will be like a little gift to yourself.  

3. Give yourself positive closure.

Graduation itself will provide a big, splashy closure to your years at school, but give yourself a moment to reflect on some private memories. On that last day (or sometime during that last week), revisit the first place you remember about your school. It might be the door you walked into on your first day, the first classroom, or even the cafeteria table where you sat during your first year. Try to remember who you were then. Picture those days. What did you look like? What did you think about? What were your dreams? Think about how far you’ve come since then. Take a few minutes to honor your path throughout the last few years.  

Your race to graduation is almost finished. You’ve worked hard to get this far. Now, take a deep breath and get ready to give that last burst of positive energy that will get you across that finish line.  

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