Opinion: Senioritis is present, and more than laziness

By Lailah Gladney, Clarion Managing Editor

As this time-paradox of a school year is somehow quickly and slowly coming to an end, there’s an undeniable shift in my mind, as a senior. I’ve committed to my college, am nearing my AP exams, and have ordered my cap and gown. The future is at the forefront of my mind more than ever, while the present (school included, depending on the day) clings to some murky area near the back. 

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve looked forward to the end of each school every year for the past 8 years (I’ll guess it started in 4th grade), but there’s a certain aversion you feel for school that I think you can only experience knowing the next time you leave, it’ll be for good. Your mind somehow realizes all the work you’ve put in for the past 3 ½ years has done its job, and you no longer have the same care you did before. The term “senioritis” has somehow caught on to explain this feeling. 

The common tells of senioritis are decreased motivation, lower attendance and work rates, and an overarching disdain for school. As a senior, I can attest that I have simultaneously been struggling with a loss of interest in anything to do with school, and the desire to finish out this year with all I can give. All that I can give diminishes each day, as I have less to do at school, yet I still spend the same amount of time here each day. As much as I’m the one feeling this way, it doesn’t feel like a completely voluntary experience.

I’ve seen adults write off senioritis as laziness of some kind, which I’ll admit is at play in some cases. But I like to look at it as your mind preparing you. It’s preparing you for the time in your life where this will all be left behind and over with, which is fairly soon. 

This concept felt weird to me until I realized it’s simply what we know. The school year doesn’t start on the first day of school, it starts in those weeks leading up when everyone is scrambling for backpacks and folders. Finals week doesn’t start on the first day, it starts that week leading up where your teachers won’t stop talking about it. We’re constantly preparing for what’s to come next, and it makes me wonder why I expected something different during a time of dramatic change in my life.

I’ve also noticed senioritis has experienced a change in interpretation over the years. The teeth of certain marauding adults have sunk into the term, and turned it into some kind of plague we should avoid at all costs. Though I’ve never been subject to this, it startles me, and shows flaws within our education system. A natural drop in motivation being vilified shows how much pressure there is on seniors’ grades and achievements. This pressure is exactly what contributes to the so-called “laziness” that we see in so many seniors. 

Instead of continuously creating this cycle in which seniors feel like they can’t win, we need to be able to feel like they can take a breath without their whole world (or what we’re taught is our whole world) coming crashing down. 

Senioritis is not some widespread laziness from seniors; it’s a natural occurrence that should be taken as such. It’s not a threat to seniors everywhere, but it does expose the standing issues with our school systems. Senioritis is a shift in the mind that can’t be avoided or worked away. 

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