Staying Focused Second Semester Senior Year

Anyone who has read my title for this post probably knows the direction I am going with this. And I assume, or hope, that I am not alone in this.

This semester has been like no other semester. The feeling of not knowing where I will be in a year has been both a blessing and a curse. In some ways, it has helped put school and other things that used to stressed me out into perspective. It has helped me to look at life in a more balanced manner and to not sweat the small stuff (as much at least). However, as I think many will agree, it is a scary/exciting/stressful/bittersweet time and this can be distracting.

This class is really pushing me outside of my comfort zone. When I am done with my project, it will be the longest time I have ever spent working on one assignment. Since I have never written a thesis or anything of that type, this is a daunting task. A task that probably could not have come at a worse time…second semester senior year when my brain is so preoccupied by questions about the future. Although I am excited about the actual project itself, as the topic interests me, I am having trouble focusing on it.

Every time I leave our class, I feel motivated, focused, and ready to tackle the work for the class. However, a few hours or days later, that feeling no longer exists. I feel disconnected from it all. I feel distracted. Even after I work on this class and then leave it to do other work, I have trouble getting back into it again. I worry how this kind of lack of focus will affect not only the ability to do the work, but also the quality of the work being done. As I mentioned before, I’ve never had to focus on one assignment for this long, so I am having a tough time.

I would love to hear other people’s thoughts on this. Are any of you having a similar problem? Does anyone who does well with long-term assignments or is working on a thesis of some sort have advice on how to tackle this and stay engaged?



One thought to “Staying Focused Second Semester Senior Year”

  1. Carly,

    “And I assume, or hope, that I am not alone in this.” Absolutely not! Honestly, the reason I clicked on this post to comment on it is because I’ve been struggling with the same things all semester (a little difficult when one is trying to work on a capstone project, but struggling nonetheless). Especially as someone who doesn’t plan on pursuing graduate school in the near future, it’s been extremely difficult for me to feel motivated to work. “At the end of the semester,” my obnoxious inner voice points out, “you’ll probably have a job, and no one will care what grade you got in [insert course here].”

    I feel the same way about the capstone project as well. I’m so excited about my topic and love imagining how my project could turn out, especially when I’m thinking intensely about it during class… until, like you mentioned, class ends, hours/days pass, and I’m concerned with about a thousand other things.

    My main strategy thus far, to be honest, has been just forcing myself to sit down and work. Even if it’s for only half an hour, I’ll block out time in my schedule and ask a friend to keep me committed to working during that time. Sometimes, I’ll strike motivational gold, remember why I love my project so much, and work for longer. Other times, it’ll be a struggle to make it through even 10 minutes, but, either way, at least I’m making some small step of progress. I’m not sure if that will help you at all, but “just doing the thing” has been helpful to me!

    Riding the struggle bus,

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