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The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The final countdown: As graduation approaches, senioritis sets in

By now, seniors all know the drill. The month of May brings with it the hope of sunshine and warmth, a reprise from the harsh winter and bitter weather. Right around now, spring quarter becomes a little more daunting, especially for seniors preparing to graduate in June. The sunshine beckons, friends at other universities are already graduating and entering the “real world” and you just want to be done. It becomes increasingly hard to focus on homework and studying. There’s one word that keeps popping up, one probably mentioned by classmates, parents or friends.

Senioritis.

The word invokes synonyms such as “laziness” and “apathy.” It varies from person to person. It can be as benign as losing focus or as serious as skipping classes.

For senior Jackie Mastache, senioritis is defined by a lack of interest.

“Seniors suffer from senioritis by not showing interest in class, by their lack of studying, not showing up for class and winging their classes because they are pretty much done with their degree,” she said.

Mastache is graduating in June and feels that she has earned a much-needed break.

“Senioritis is more like a reward for working hard in previous courses,” Mastache said. “In my case, I worked really hard throughout the years, I can take it easy with the studying.”

Mastache realized she had senioritis in winter quarter, when she would miss class and not feel like studying.

“I figured that I am so done with school and no longer needed to stress about getting good grades because it is unnecessary stress,” she said.

Mastache said she is having a hard time focusing this quarter because of the various festivals and events around the city, the warm weather and being on the quarter system while others are on a semester system.

“It doesn’t help when others graduate the first week of May and we are stuck taking midterms,” she said. “It’s like, can we just get our diploma?”

Psychology professor Joseph Ferrari describes senioritis as a fatigue that students face when they near the end.

“It’s more of a notion of being tired,” Ferrari said. “Getting to the end and having no energy.”

Ferrari notes that there is a distinct difference between procrastinating and senioritis.

“Procrastination is purposefully delaying something and feeling guilty,” Ferrari said. “Everybody puts off some tasks. Certainly senioritis might lead people to procrastinate.”

But there is still another month left in classrooms, writing papers and taking tests. For Mastache, having senioritis gives her the extra push to finish strong.

“It means that I need to work harder in my classes so that my GPA doesn’t go down,” she said. “I need to focus and show more interest in class so that I won’t have to retake any classes.”

Having senioritis could lead to consequences, such as failing a class and not being able to graduate on time. But it could also have unintended consequences on those trying to apply for grad school.

DePaul alum Katie Ferrari is currently a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, set to graduate in December with two masters, one in architecture and the other in urban planning. She acknowledges that it is easy to burn out, but urges students to fight through.

“It’s normal to put off tasks, but it’s what you do about it that’s the question,” she said. “C’s get degrees, right? But then what do they get?”

She urges students to never rule out going back to school. Ferrari took a year off after graduating in 2009 to intern and apply for jobs and grad school. One thing that kept her focused through the finish was knowing that her GPA would be important to apply for grad school.

“You still have the responsibility to go to class and do homework, but when you know graduation is right around the corner, when you see the finish line, you just want to get there,” she said. “Having the mentality of ‘oh I just don’t care’ is not good. Have the mentality to just finish strong.”

She admits that being in school for so many years can take a toll on your brain and body. For her, the smartest decision was taking a year off after graduating from DePaul.

“It allowed me to deal with reflection and where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do,” she said. “I really needed that time.”

Her year off allowed her to figure out where her passions were and how she could achieve them. One thing she would recommend to seniors is to not go to grad school for the sake of going to grad school. For her, taking a year off from school showed her that she missed the classroom environment.

“One thing I learned was that I missed discussion. I missed discussing theories and bouncing ideas back and forth,” she said.

Mastache is planning on following that advice. After graduation, she plans on taking a year off to work and volunteer for non-profits, getting more experience in her field before applying for grad school. Right now she’s pushing herself through to the end.

“If I can get myself to complete my work without any distractions, then I will reward myself with something fun over the weekend,” she said.

With just a little over a month until graduation, seniors have to refocus their energy in order to power through to get that diploma.

Take it from someone who’s been in those shoes.

“I felt so proud of myself when I graduated college,” Ferrari said. “It’s such a rewarding thing to graduate from college. Not a lot of people can get that. Even though you want to float on by, just push yourself. In the end, it will be worth it. Once you get that degree nobody can ever take it away from you.”

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