We just made it through midterms and hopefully enjoyed a peaceful fall break. But for some of us, the rest of the fall semester is looming, and one week hardly feels like enough time to recover after eight weeks of work. This can especially be true for seniors. Ninety credits worth of work can leave a person worn out, unmotivated, and nervous about the future aka: “senioritis.” This word embodies the unique mix of burn out, anticipation, and stress felt by many high school and college seniors. As a senior myself after years of hard work, I’ve learned a few key lessons along the way that help put my senioritis in perspective.
1. I Don’t Have to Live Up to the World’s Standards of Success
I don’t know about you, but I’m not really sure what I’m doing after I graduate. A year ago, I had it all planned out, but as I’ve learned more about myself, my major, and the world around me, I am less sure. Our culture has a lot to say to people in my situation. We’re told to reach for the stars, achieve great things, follow our hearts, and never give up on our dreams. Even in a Christian college, it’s easy to see all the academic successes of your peers and start to look at all the ways you don’t measure up. Thankfully, we have the truth of scripture. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” Our academic careers are not for ourselves, the world, or our families. The work we put towards our careers is for the Lord and His glory. God doesn’t measure us by our achievements, our grades, or our careers. He only asks that we submit them all to Him. Matthew 6:19-20 reminds us, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” This world is not our home and the rules it tries to give us are not ones we are called to obey. Academic, career, and social success can be wonderful callings God uses to glorify His name. Yet they do not define us and the work He calls us to may not always look successful to the world’s eyes.
2. My Faith Won’t Always Look Like Others
On a Christian campus, it is easy to look at the outward spiritual lives of our fellow students and not feel spiritual enough. At UnChapel, we might not raise our hands the highest, we might not understand much in our Bible classes, or we might have little to contribute at life group. It can be tempting to think we don’t measure up, but not all spiritual growth or gifts will appear the same or be very visible. Galatians 5:22-23a says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Despite the hidden nature of some gifts, we all have amazing God-given abilities that are important for God’s plan.
1 Corinthians 12:12-27 reminds us how important all our different abilities and callings are. I’ve learned that even though I’m not able to physically serve as much as I’d like, I can still do wonderful things for the Lord. You might also be discouraged by patterns of sin you thought you were past or lessons you thought you learned. I encourage you to remember God’s faithfulness, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). Whatever God is doing in your life does not finish when you graduate. He continues to work in and through you as you submit yourself to Him.
3. God’s Plans Are Not My Plans
A common struggle among seniors is figuring out what to do next. As I mentioned, I used to be really confident about what I wanted out of life and what God had called me to. But lately, my clear vision of the future has become much blurrier. Senior year is a time of transition and big questions. Thankfully, we serve a faithful God who knows what the future holds. Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” We can make plans for our futures all we want, but we ultimately don’t know everything. However, we can step out in faith and follow where God is leading. I wasn’t wrong to have plans or hopes for my future, there is wisdom in being prepared. Yet, in all this, it’s important to remember God is in control and has a hold of us, whether our plans succeed, fail, or change. Keep striving after Him. He promises to take care of us, and His plans are infinitely more glorious than we could ever dream of.
Senioritis is real, with the lack of motivation, the worries about the future, the sheer amount of schoolwork, and more. But the scriptures are there to remind us of our real purpose. God is so much bigger than any assignment, grade, school year, or degree. So as we enter into the second half of the semester, let’s remember we aren’t doing this alone.