Senioritis: an inescapable disease with a hopeful prognosis

Graphic by Liam Hansen

Sadie Wyatt

Second semester has begun, and we all know what that means—extra stress, February and spring break, AP tests and finals, and the looming hope that summer will eventually come. For seniors, it means the onset of the dreaded hurts-my-grades-so-bad-but-feels-so-good case of senioritis. We’ve all heard of it, some of us have felt it, and now I, Sadie Wyatt, Chief Medical Correspondent for The Beacon have interviewed some of its experts.

Senioritis, as defined by Oxford English Dictionary, is “a supposed affliction of students in their final year of high school or college, characterized by a decline in motivation or performance.” It tends to begin around second semester for most students, although senior Emma Saenz said, “Senioritis started the first day of school, but really kicked in after the two big college deadlines, [November 1 and January 1].” Classmate Rachel Wallach agreed, adding, “I first felt senioritis kick in when I got into college because then my grades didn’t matter anymore, so then I didn’t care.”

So how does one know they have been hit with a case of the notorious disease? Commonly recognized symptoms include low motivation, missed homework and assignments, and lack of concentration. Senior Bryce Smith noted that now, “any mention of school irritates you,” and Wallach described feeling “really burned out.” Urges can be felt to “skip school either completely or part of the day,” Saenz said. Wallach also recognized that while senioritis’ main ramifications are seen in school, they can be regarded in other aspects of students’ lives. “I also just have no motivation to do anything like exercise or do well in sports… I’m just really burned out,” she said.

With such extreme symptoms and still five months left in the school year, it can seem hard to treat the diagnosis. However, seniors noted that it is not impossible to get work done and get through having to go to school. “I work through it by being on my phone in class, and mainly just hanging with friends in class to keep things fun! Also sometimes reminding myself that colleges see your final grades,” Saenz said. Similarly, Smith noted how the support of your fellow classmates can help you find motivation in seemingly mundane tasks. “I just try to persevere,” he said. “It’s good to have a friend who hasn’t suffered from it to help you with school.”

While senioritis often approaches because you feel so close to graduation, it’s possible to feel the effects even as an underclassman or junior. This can come from seeing the effects take over senior friends’ lives, or by simply being overworked. To this, Wallach, Saenz, and Smith offer advice to their fellow Tigers. For those struggling to find motivation, Saenz said, “be aware that senioritis IS REAL, and cope with it by finding ways to keep going to school tolerable. And then of course, you can give in and take a few mental health days.” Smith added to these ideas, saying, “Have lots of communication with your schoolmates because at least someone in each class will help you. Don’t lose sight of your goal.” Wallach nodded to the stresses of 11th grade, adding “to juniors—don’t overbook your schedule… give yourself little goals each day and you’ll probably end up getting that done.”

So, senioritis: definitely not a myth, although it doesn’t have to be a death sentence. Seniors: push through it! High school will be over before you know it. And to the rest struggling with even more than this year ahead of us, don’t give up early. Junioritis, while possible, will just make school drag on even longer. Try to save the senioritis for senior year.