Max Freitas, 2015
When running in a marathon, runners hit something that they call a runner’s wall. Their legs start feeling like concrete, it becomes harder to breathe, and the runner just wants to give up. This wall is usually hit around three quarters of the way through a race, and it may seem almost unbearable to finish the race. This is literally like high school.
When a student comes far in his/her educational career to senior year, things just start to drag. Motivation seems to just disappear. A student knows they’re so close to being done with high school, but at the same time so far away.
Senioritis [noun] • the infectious illness of becoming extremely unmotivated and exhausted in their senior year of high school; possibly contagious.
Many seniors throughout SHS are experiencing this “disease” and their motivation and drive is “infected” by senioritis.
It seems to be an interesting yearly phenomenon, affecting the graduating class every year.
The question is why senioritis is such a problem every year.
Senior Tyler Jacques is one of these students affected and unmotivated. Jacques is a good student and participates in many after school activities, but has become a victim of senioritis.
“I got here on the first day of school and I don’t know. Something just happened to me and I’ve been different ever since. I once had a word search for homework and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it,” said Jacques.
Senior Grecia De La Gala isn’t much different.
“I haven’t done anything in a hundred years,” said De La Gala with a slight groan.
What causes this extreme lack of motivation, though?
Many students juggle a lot of things in and out of school. Many students have to try to figure a balance between school work, clubs, sports, extracurricular activities, jobs, relationships, and even family life.
For most, going through 3 years of trying to balance all of this leaves many overwhelmed by senior year.
“I don’t remember the last time I did homework at home. All my homework is done in school now,” said Heidi Gonzalez.
Not only does the amount of stuff on a student’s head contribute to this, but the thought that they are so close to graduating factors in.
The mentality that high school is almost over subconsciously affects a student’s performance.
Once colleges send out their acceptance letters, that’s when it really kicks in.
Senior Daniel Portillo said, “It’s really hard. I have no intrinsic motivation. No extrinsic motivation. My mind set has just really changed because I already know I’m going to college.”
Portillo, for one, is another excellent student who juggles a lot outside of school. He has been accepted to Bucknell University with a full-ride from the Posse foundation.
Even some students, who believed senioritis would never affect them, have been hit by it.
Senior Terence Jeremie said, “I didn’t really have senioritis at the beginning of the year. I was pretty on top of things but now it’s kind of hitting me.”
All of this indirectly affects teachers, too. Teachers get one-on-one interaction with these students that sluggishly move about their classes on a daily basis.
Although teachers don’t get senioritis, they have to play the doctors to try to get their students to keep pushing on.
“I think it’s funny when kids claim they have senioritis when they’re like sophomores. It’s my job to keep these kids working,” said Redirect Counselor Ms. Alter.
Alter explains her theory of senioritis very well.
“I think that around this time of year once the seniors’ plans for next year are starting to become more concrete, it’s both really exciting and really scary and even a little sad,” said Alter.
She continued saying, “Senioritis is more complicated than just the idea of wanting to get out of here. But you’re thinking toward your future, whether it’s clear or not and you don’t know what to expect. At the same time, you’re thinking about your past and leaving all this behind as well as the same people you’ve spent like 12 years with.”
Alter works as a guidance counselor and sees all this coming into play day-to-day. She actually listens to students’ issues that come from beyond school. It seems senioritis is not only just a work-load issue.
“You’re trying to figure out what your future looks like and at the same time saying goodbye to people. This is what manifests itself as ‘I just want to be done’ in senioritis,” she said.
How do you cure senioritis, though?
Heidi Gonzalez said, “You can’t fix it. You just can’t.”
Ms. Alter, however, has a different view.
She explained saying, “I think the best cure for senioritis is to try and live in the moment as much as you can. Enjoy the time that you have. Senioritis is all about thinking about the future too much, so just live now while you’re at SHS.”
This all serves as a warning to upcoming classes. Juniors will be facing the same struggles and challenges in only a few months.
“I feel like senioritis is just an extreme version of procrastination. As a junior, I’m starting to lose motivation and procrastinate. I feel like as a senior, it’s inevitable,” said junior Christina Bissereth.
Like Bissereth, junior Thaina Nascimento said, “Senioritis is definitely real. I’m pretty sure I have junioritis right now. I know I have to actually be focused and motivated next year or else it’ll be bad.”
To the classes of 2016, 2017, 2018, and beyond:
Senioritis is not something to brag about to your friends saying you have it.
It may seem like fun to joke around saying you’re going to get the worst case of senioritis, but when it hits and starts negatively affecting you, it’ll be too late.
It comes suddenly because of all the things that we balance in and out of school and because we’re thinking a lot about college and the future.
In the fall of your senior year, you’ll be finishing your SATs, thinking about colleges, and filling out applications. It’s crazy to think that a year later, you’ll be taking a step toward your future through the college you choose.
It will be hard, but have hope and keep pushing on.
As long as you try to keep focused throughout the year and do your work, the symptoms of senioritis can be eased.
Don’t fall into the extremes, though. Don’t slack off to the point that it will affect your future. And don’t overwhelm yourself with all your responsibilities.
Like Ms. Alter said, it’s your senior year of high school. Enjoy it as much as possible but don’t let senioritis get the best of you.