PR students, 5 signs—and cures—for senioritis

Graduation is so close you can almost taste it. But don’t start slacking off, says one PR professor. It might burn you down the road (read: your career).


College seniors are rapidly approaching graduation and many have caught the highly contagious ailment: senioritis.

However, the classes and experiences students take during their final semester can have a lasting impact on professional or graduate school aspirations. Professors, advisors, and internship supervisors will remember your performance that final semester and those impressions could affect your grades, recommendation letters, and even job offers. Here are some common senioritis symptom and cures:

Study slack off

You think you’re close enough to graduation that slacking off a bit won’t impact your overall grades. Think again.

Senior workshop courses, capstones, and thesis courses contain some of the most important content and portfolio building assignments. Many of these courses require you to work independently and manage your time accordingly. This discipline will serve you well when you are employed in the real world—where slackers need not apply.

The last hurrah!

After graduation you are going to quickly score a full-time job so you better party now, right? Take it easy.

While the social aspect of senior year is fun, too much fun can hurt your health, your study habits, and your grades. Texting or sleeping in class due to an overactive social life will annoy your professors and potentially hurt your grades. You’d hate to be stuck taking as summer class because you had too much fun to do your work.

A single focus … on that degree

Many students rush to get the degree in hand, but they fail to take advantage of the college experience. A degree doesn’t determine success. The knowledge, skills, experiences, and connections you make in college are the necessary ingredients cook up a great career and land a dream job.

Aloof attitudes

You’ve done your time, and you have a great internship—why do you need to stay involved in class or in clubs? Professors will fondly remember and support students who are actively involved in class discussions and club activities, and are passionate about their school and work lives. These are the people who you’ll need to serve as professional or graduate school references.

I can’t count all of the times a student who slacked in class or had a bad attitude called me after graduation for a recommendation letter or reference, which I couldn’t give. Don’t alienate faculty mentors; we are likely to be lifetime advocates for your success.

Denial

You work hard to finish college and when graduation and the reality of the job search rushes towards you—not to mention bills and a lifetime of work—you don’t want to face it. College can be the greatest time of your life, but it should also serve as a jumping board from which to launch a productive, happy, and meaningful life. Don’t let the unknown paralyze you.

Students who take responsibility for their choices (good and bad), strive to learn, and grow will achieve success. Fight off senioritis, enjoy the few remaining months of college and take control of your academic and career path. Be resourceful, strengthen ties with mentors, and be confident. Success and happiness are contagious, too.

Lorra M. Brown is an assistant professor of public relations/professional communication at William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J. She serves as the internship coordinator and advisor to the Student Public Relations Association. Prior to her faculty position, she held senior-level positions at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide and Weber Shandwick Worldwide. A version of this story appeared on www.lorrabrown.com.

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