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The suffix “-itis” means inflammation. So, the term that has been coined for 12th grade students who are just DONE with anything remotely related to academics literally means an “inflammation of seniors.” This makes sense. High school seniors who have been accepted into a university or who are awaiting acceptances believe that they are untouchable. Their egos are swollen… or “inflamed,” if you will.  However, it is essential not to get stuck in that senior slump.  Here are five tips for high school seniors to reduce the inflammation:

1.  Keep telling yourself that grades still matter   

Many 12th graders vow that after second semester senior year they will start to slack off.   Homework is a thing of the past. Studying? What is that? However, take the example of Jennifer C., a nationally-ranked soccer star, recruited to play at a top university at the end of her junior year. Her ego was swollen. She was thrilled to be able coast through senior year. But, after getting a C- in math on her first marking period report card, the college rescinded her acceptance and put her on probation. Now, she spends her weekends making flashcards and her afternoons going for extra help rather than hanging out with her friends.

2.  Getting college credit is WORTH the effort 

When I was a senior in high school I took two AP classes – AP Spanish and AP Art History.I studied and studied for both exams and received 5s on both. To my surprise, when I sent my scores to Boston University, they notified me that the AP Art History exam was worth TWO class credits! I entered freshman year with 12 college credits and placed out of the language requirement with my Spanish score. First semester of freshman year, I only took three classes.  While I could have taken more, it was incredible to have the time to get acclimated to college life and not worry too much about an overloaded course schedule. 

3.  Practice Makes Permanent   

According to Aristotle, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”If you developed good study habits in your four years of high school, don’t let it all go to waste.  Those late nights studying, making notecards, or creating Quizlets were not just temporary means to an end. They were essential habits. If you break those good study habits in spring of your senior year, they will be much more difficult to re-learn first semester of freshman year in college. Do not lose your momentum. Study. Rinse. Repeat.  

4.  Stay Healthy

Senior year can be extraordinarily stressful – between college applications, acceptances, rejections, the reality of leaving home sinking in – emotions will be all over the place. It is so important to keep yourself healthy, both mentally and physically. Take time out to take a yoga class, a spin class, or even just go for a walk or bike ride. Carve out moments in your day or week to practice moments of mindfulness. Those can include the simple act of counting your breaths to doing a craft. Don’t underestimate the power of Michael’s!

5.  Start Adulting Now

One of the toughest lessons you will learn in college is the ability to balance life. Between your classes, your social life, your personal wellness, and your financial responsibility, it can be pretty overwhelming at first.Take some control. Make your own doctor appointments. Drop off your dry cleaning. Walk the dog. Offer to cook dinner for the family. Learn how to make a good pot of coffee. But, also remember it is okay to ask for help when you need it.   

Although it is tempting to blow off school for the next few months, it will not be worth it in the end. You can still have fun. You can still carve out time to plan for prom weekend. You can still enjoy fun trips away with your friends. While doctors suggest taking Advil to reduce inflammation, try to follow these steps to reduce your own inflammation, and fight “senioritis.”   

- Lauren Gottlieb, Admit U Consulting Essay Coach and Contributing Author


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