The Senior Year Race: Starting Strong and Maintaining Momentum

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Written by Breneya Johnson

The first half of senior year can be very overwhelming and stressful. Trying to balance your home life, school, sports, work, and college applications is a tall task! Though tedious, it isn’t impossible. Using a planner can help you stay organized, focused, and mindful of your mental-emotional health as you run the senior year race. 

Your Planner

Your planner can be a physical planner, an electronic planner, or a hybrid of the two. A planner will allow you to keep track of your school work, scholarship deadlines, application deadlines, and all of your extracurricular activities. You want to put everything on your calendar. This can mean scheduling a time to do your homework or study, scheduling in breaks, taking note of game days and whether or not you plan to study on the bus ride to away games, and/or identifying the days you plan to complete which applications and which parts. The key is to set goals for yourself along the way and use a format that works best for you.

What Worked for Me

I am a goal-oriented, Type A visual learner, so sometimes I push myself harder than I should. For these reasons, I relied on color coding, goal setting, and scheduling self-care when using my planner as strategies to navigate my senior year and personal life. 

  • Color coding: School, work, sports, college applications, scholarship applications, home stuff, and self-care each had their own color. This way it was clear to me what my priorities were for that day. 
  • Setting Goals: I would set daily and weekly goals for each item that had a color. Daily goals built up to weekly goals. Here’s an example:
    • Weekly Goal: This week I will submit one scholarship application by Sunday 11:59pm.
    • Daily Goals
  • Monday I will create a rough draft.
  • Tuesday I will edit it. 
  • Wednesday I will send the draft to someone else for edits. 
  • Thursday I will look for a scholarship for the next week while my editor is editing.
  • Friday-Sunday I will make final edits and if I have time, ask someone to edit it again.
  • Scheduling Self-Care: People like to romanticize the idea of “grinding” through their work — so much so that they sacrifice sleep, relationships, and things that they enjoy. This isn’t healthy. It is unreasonable to expect ourselves to constantly be in go-mode. You need to take the time to assess how you are doing mentally, physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually regularly. Self-care is different for everyone. It could be working out, watching your favorite shows, or gardening — whatever fulfills and replenishes you! I ensured that I did some type of self-care every Sunday to prepare myself for the week and Friday to decompress from the week. How much self-care you need is up to you and may fluctuate depending on what’s going on in life. Be sure to check in on yourself daily to see how you are doing. 

Hopefully adopting the use of a planner helps you navigate your senior year a little better!

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