Bowl in a china shop: Senioritis returns during final year of college education

Senioritis is not a myth. I thought I'd been cured after high school, thinking I could only have senioritis once -- just like chicken pox -- but that isn't the case. Maybe it's like mono -- you get it once, and then you're a carrier -- always taking the chance you could come down with it again.

We all know the symptoms: decreased motivation, the desire to sleep more often, procrastination, short memory lapses, irritability, increased daydreaming. The list goes on and on, sometimes varying depending on the person with it.

Maybe you're thinking "I have senioritis too," and you've been searching for the ultimate cure. Too bad there isn't a pill doctors can prescribe to get rid of senioritis. We could all be a lot more productive.

The only cure I can think of is self-discipline. You don't want to write your English annotations or finish that 10-page history paper, but you have to. There are things in our daily lives we have to do, no matter how much we don't want to. However, you can motivate yourself to accomplish those tasks -- in my case it's through prayer -- the quicker you can get over senioritis.

I caught it this summer when I did my internship at The Shelbyville News. I worked there as a news writer, covering community news along with the Shelby County 4-H Fair. As the summer progressed, I began to lose interest in just about everything in my life, my friends, my job, even my family. Apathy slowly invaded along with procrastination and its idea "you can do this tomorrow instead of today."

I had to grin and bear it during my internship -- a small feeling in the back of my brain telling me this isn't what I really wanted to do.

There's something else senioritis does -- at least in my experience -- it forces you to re-evaluate your life and what you really want out of it. When my frustrations and lack of interest in reporting started showing up in my Daily News stories, I knew I had to change something. I didn't care about my work anymore, and when you don't care, you end up doing a crappy job.

So I gave up my chief reporter position and decided I had serious soul-searching to do (because senioritis keeps you from getting much done, you have a lot of time to soul-search). I've realized I love writing, just not news writing, and I couldn't go into a newspaper job without eventually having a nervous breakdown. Don't force yourself to do something you know you don't really like. I did that for three years, and it never pays off.

I'm not saying don't try new things. Do try them, but if it doesn't work out don't beat yourself up and think your life is ruined. It's not.

I've realized over the last few weeks it doesn't matter if you don't have life figured out by the time you leave college. What matters is that you know a little more about yourself than you did before and have untied some of the mysterious knots of life.

Write to Laura at rutherford_1980@yahoo.com


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