What is Behind High School or College Senioritis?

Do you have a senior from high school or college who seems to have shut down and is no longer productive?  Maybe they were productive in the past but now they are procrastinating, their grades are sliding, they don’t care about the things that mattered to them in the past and their tempers seem to be higher than normal.  Or perhaps they seem to negatively obsess over a class, another student, or a family member.  In short, your senior is different and not for the better.

Change is difficult for most people and transitioning from a high school student to a college student or from a college student into the workforce can be more change then they are prepared to handle.  Stress levels are high whenever someone moves but add to that a change in status, change in environments, change in friendships, and change in expectations.  Now you have a recipe for one stressed out senior.  So how can you help?  By paying attention to their behavior and acting accordingly you can alleviate some of the pressure.

Shutting down.  One reason a senior shuts down is because they are overwhelmed with anticipation over what is expected from them in the future.  Perhaps they have a scholarship to a college or job offers lined up and are anxious about living up to these new standards.  So instead of finishing strong, they retreat to a protective shell of sorts and stop performing altogether.  Begin by helping them admit that they are anxious and then try talking about a back-up plan if Plan A does not work to alleviate some of the anticipated pressure.  Finally, inspect your own expectations to ensure they are realistic and not unrealistic.

Procrastinating.  While one senior stops working altogether another one slows down their productivity to a crawl and frequently missed deadlines they would normally meet.  This procrastinating may be a sign that they are nervous about the upcoming change and they are trying to delay the change by moving slower.  At the subconscious level they are dragging everything out to make it last longer.  Unfortunately time moves on regardless of our actions.  Begin by helping them admit to the sadness they are feeling and allow them to reflect on the things they will miss going forward.  Give them the opportunity to spend extra time with their friends so they can begin the process of saying good-bye.

Negative obsessing.  Some seniors finish strong but seem to put all of their passions and negative energy attacking a class, teacher, fellow student or family member.  They obsess over things that never bothered them before and act in a manner inconsistent with their personality.  These students hyper focus their energy on one or two things to distract them from the negative feelings associated with their change.  Begin by identifying their target of negative energy and remind them of how they managed effectively in the past with their obsession.  Then discuss the other emotions such as sadness or anxiety they may be feeling and help them work through it.

Senior year can be an exciting time for students and the hope is that they will look back on their senior year with great memories.  By working with your senior and helping them to identify the stressful feelings they may be experiencing you will help to ensure a good memory instead of a negative one.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

The Power of Unforgiveness

Angry Penguin

Angry Penguin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

College towns are hard to get around just on foot because of the distance between classes and dorms, so as a college student, I took up bike riding.  One day while riding in the street, granted I was riding in the opposite direction of traffic which is strangely prophetic of my college years, my wheel got caught in an old railroad track causing my bike to twist and overturn.  As my head was falling to the ground, I looked up to see a car headed straight for me.  Suddenly, my life literally flashed before my eyes with all of its highs and lows.  Thankfully the car stopped just before it reached my head and I suffered only a sprained ankle and a fractured arm.

Take a moment and imagine the highs and lows of your life right now, what images or people would pop into your head?  More than likely there are high moments with people and places of great excitement, joy, and love.  More than likely there are also low moments that are still causing you some residual anxiety, stress or anger.  One of the reasons those low moments leave residual emotional scars is because of unforgiveness.  Unforgiveness of past events or people can be powerful and destructive even to your current relationships.

Quick to anger.  if you find yourself quick to get angry over little issues, taking too many things personally,  or to blowing things out of proportion to their significance, more than likely you are harboring unforgiveness.  Anger is a powerful emotion that often has its roots in past rather than current events.  Our unresolved past events especially those events that were traumatic in nature creep into our current anger outbursts.

Biting sarcasm.  If you find yourself using biting sarcasm which is sarcasm that takes a dig at another person and find them not laughing or nervously laughing, more than likely you are harboring unforgiveness.  Biting sarcasm is anger’s close cousin and it is an effort to mask true feelings of anger and resentment.  Perhaps quicker than an angry outburst, biting sarcasm can destroy a relationship because it is a back-handed attack.

Malicious gossip.  If you find yourself needing to talk to several people about the same issue or person over and over to get just one more perspective, more than likely you are harboring unforgiveness.  Gossip is talking about someone behind their back.  Some even go to the lengths to justify their gossip by saying they were just trying to inform or protect someone else.  This is still gossip and your present relationships go on guard each time you talk about someone else behind their back.

Dreaming of revenge.  If you find yourself daydreaming of getting back at someone or seeking out ways to outdo someone else to prove you are better, more than likely you are harboring unforgiveness.  Revenge comes in many forms and it does not always have to be physically harmful to another person.  Just wanting a person to get what they deserve, lose a relationship, have financial hardships, or feel pain is vengeful thinking.  Your present relationships will then be in fear of retribution rather than feel your love.

Unforgiveness is powerful in that it gives you the false sense that you are in control.  By harboring the negative feelings, a person can feel like they are in charge.  But sadly, the person or event that caused the unforgiveness is really in control and in charge as you are merely reacting to the person or event.  Take charge of your own life and don’t allow someone else or something else to control what you are doing or how you are reacting.  Better yet, turn your life and your unforgiveness over to God and allow Him to take care of the person or situation.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.