Updated: Oct 4, 2021
It’s barely the beginning of the school year, and I’m already over it. When’s graduation? Please transport me to June 2022 or give me a wheelchair because I don’t know if I can stand one more year of high school. Now unfortunately, I’m not the only one feeling this way. This is universal, for everyone in 12th grade. This deadly disease is known as Senioritis.
Symptoms of Senioritis are plentiful. Some include increasing apathy towards grades and lack of motivation. All of this leads to problems like anxiety, procrastination, taking frequent naps to escape, and less effort being put in. A lot of this stems from a combination of a perfectionist mindset, 3 years worth of burnout, and the thought that high school is almost over. The fact that we Seniors have been working tirelessly for these past few years has been demoralizing in itself. Not only that, but we are finally at the end of the road.
When putting that into perspective, it becomes all too apparent why we should feel discouraged by this last year. It becomes easy to ask, “What’s the point in giving it your all?” and even easier to do the bare minimum when the endpoint is right there. This then snowballs into stress and anxiety, both of which are caused by our own ‘perfectionist mindset.’ We are not motivated enough to perform at our peak and yet still want to meet our own expectations (often influenced by school itself). The discrepancy in what we expect and our overall performance is one of the most tantalizing aspects of Senioritis.
The Pandemic’s Effects on Senioritis
Normally, Senioritis strikes at the end of the year, when college applications are already in. So why are so many Seniors experiencing it this early in the year? The Pandemic. Having to stare at a screen for hours a day, in a less engaging environment, with a multitude of distractions shattered all semblance of morale. It felt soulless with so little participation, and it was simply difficult to learn. The aftermath of “Zooming” hit hard as well and discouraged many including myself. Every week day felt endlessly repeating and by the end, it all felt pointless. That is to say, a year’s worth of online classes did a number on most if not all of our mentalities. In a way, it feels like the effects of Zoom are continuing into our Senior year. It’s almost as if we got out already and then had to come back in, expected to smoothly adjust. Motivation feels like it was cleaved completely off last semester and immensely intensified Senioritis. The result: a rocky start to returning to school.
In regards to Senioritis, I sent out an anonymous survey on how Seniors, particularly in Eagle Rock High School, feel about returning to campus. Of course, not every single senior on campus was able to answer this survey, but it still gives a sense of insight. You can take the survey and view the responses here.
When asked the question, “Do you still feel like a senior?”, a great majority of students answered with either “I’m slowly adjusting to feeling like a senior,” and “I still feel like a sophomore/I don’t feel like a senior.” Only a small percentage of students who responded truly felt like Seniors.
In response to the question “How do you feel about being back on campus?”, there were a variety of responses. Many students expressed feeling good about going on campus. One person replied with, “Very happy to be back on campus with familiar faces, but it does feel like there was almost like a time skip, if that makes sense.” Another common response was that students felt overwhelmed because of the workload and having to adjust to being back on campus.
The most listed symptoms of Senioritis from the survey were a lack of motivation and increased stress. A majority of students agreed with the fact that these symptoms had increased with the pandemic. It was also evident that most students who answered the survey believed that they were suffering from Senioritis.
Pertaining to academics, students were asked to explain if they felt like the same person as they were before the pandemic. Again, there was a range of responses, as each individual person had a different experience in quarantine. While some students expressed that the pandemic helped them become more organized, others expressed that the pandemic left a negative impact on their mental health. Here are some of the replies:
“School feels less important than it did before the pandemic”
“Before the pandemic, I can confidently say I changed a lot when it came to academics. It wasn’t until the summer going into 11th grade when I realized I really need to try to do my best in school.”
“I do not think I am the same person as before the pandemic because my work ethic and habits in general have greatly suffered due to my lethargic tendencies during quarantine.”
“If I'm being completely honest, I think I'm a tiny bit better than I was before. I wasn't too focused on education before, or I didn't think it would influence me. But now that I'm a senior, I'm putting in a lot more effort. So I'm gradually strengthening my academic abilities, and so far it's working.”
“I feel like I only do assignments for the grade rather than to learn. It’s not the same as before but there is definitely a lack of motivation.”
Tips for victims of Senioritis
Looking at these responses, it might be safe to say that more students were negatively affected by the pandemic than positively. For all my fellow seniors, who are feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry, you aren’t alone. To try and avoid Senioritis, it might be best to know your limitations and acknowledge when to take breaks. Burnout is one of the more common causes of Senioritis, and making sure you are able to tackle your work with the right state of mind is important. Another aspect to consider is the environment. Is it too noisy? Are there too many people around you? Your working environment can help a lot with focusing and getting started. Setting goals helps too. Having a sense of progression with what you’re working towards can do wonders with motivation. A little reward once in a while wouldn’t hurt either. The most important thing is to acknowledge yourself. Value what you’ve accomplished and how far you’ve come. Slip-ups will always be inevitable, but that’s all more reason to continue bettering yourself.