How to Stay Motivated When You’re a Graduating Senior

If your graduation date is approaching, you may be struggling to stay motivated, even with the finish line in sight. You’re definitely not alone in feeling that way. As a graduating senior who is also in the same boat, I’m here to offer you five ways to stay motivated as graduation season approaches.

Do Things that Give You Rest

If there’s anything I’ve learned during my senior year, it’s that rest and sleep are two very different things. Getting rest contributes to your motivation because you spend time doing things you love. It rejuvenates your mind, body, and spirit to give you a push of energy when you need it. Rest could mean watching a movie or show on Netflix, going for a walk or a hike with friends, unplugging and putting your phone down for a few hours, or drawing or writing—whatever it is that gives you life and puts your mind at ease for a little while.

Make To-Do Lists

The semester is often busiest just before graduation, and a busy season coupled with a lack of motivation can spell trouble. To-do lists will be your best friend in this season of life. Make sure you list the highest priorities at the top, and go down the list from there. It’s okay to start with the easiest tasks first to get yourself in the groove of tackling your work. Or, take on the task you’re least excited about first; this will give you a sense of accomplishment that will fuel the rest of your work. However you decide to do it, making to-do lists will help you stay on task and keep you from getting distracted.

Be Present

This is one area in which I struggle, but it’s so important to be present in this season leading up to graduation. Soon, you will no longer be in the same spaces with the same people. Being present is one of the best ways to stay motivated because it enables you to look at what’s right in front of you, assignments included, rather than focusing solely on the future. Take advantage of the relationships you have and the people around you—they may not be around you for long.

Do Your Work Away from Home

Home is meant to be a place of comfort and sleep. For me, it’s almost impossible to productively do homework in my apartment. I often go to a coffee shop or to Heritage Court on West Campus. A change of venue can promote productivity because it removes the temptation to be lazy or relax instead of working. A coffee shop is perfect if you work better with minor hustle and bustle in the background. If you’re someone who needs silence to concentrate, try going to the library or finding a quiet spot outside to work if the weather allows (which it often does here in Southern California).

Give Yourself Grace

This season of life can be both exciting and daunting. Give yourself grace when you feel unmotivated or if you have a bad day. The thought of graduation day is exhilarating, but it can also be filled with uncertainty. Giving yourself grace is the best way you’ll be able to stay motivated, stay on task, and get through this season. It’s also important to extend that grace to the people around you—they’re probably feeling many of the same emotions you are. Support them, too.

Staying motivated as a graduating senior isn’t always easy, but with the right tools, it is possible. Soon, you’ll be walking across that stage getting your diploma (or at least your diploma cover). Be proud of how far you’ve made it and how hard you’ve worked, but be present and keep your eye on the prize. Don’t give up, and remember that you will miss all of this one day. You’ll be thankful for the late nights, the papers, and the conversations with your professors. Take advantage of these last moments, and keep pushing forward.