Senioritis: The High School Plague


Adoley Swaniker

Photoillustration by: Adoley Swaniker

Steven Hughes, Writer

Nobody thinks of Senioritis as a real thing. For most people, it’s more of a joke than anything else. However, for anyone who has experienced their senior year at high school, it’s obvious that it is a powerful force to be reckoned with. It is not a joke. It is a real, devastating disorder.

Senioritis is defined as the decreased motivation experienced by students nearing the close of their senior of year, whether in college, high school and, in extreme cases, elementary school. In the grades preceding senior year, the mention of senioritis is usually funny; it is makes sense that people would be sick of working after four years, but can it really be making people so dysfunctional?

In short, yes. It absolutely can.

When you’re growing up, the end is never really there. Sure, summer break gives younger students a taste of the end, but it comes nowhere near to the glorious light at the end of the not-quite-short-enough tunnel of senior year. It is the ultimate feeling of “so close yet so far”,” to think of the few weeks separating these students with their long-awaited adult life. In comparison to that excitement, it makes sense that everyday classwork begins to seem trivial and worthless.

In fact, it’s to be expected. That feeling of priority is a healthy part of what makes us human. It’s a time of massive transition. Everything seniors have experienced up to this point in their lives is about to end, to be replaced by something unknown – probably better – but, regardless, unknown. Faced with such a profound adventure, people turn inwards, and begin to put priority on what they emotionally value. Usually, it’s family, friends, relationships, and self-discovery. These are good efforts, and understandable desires.

Unfortunately, it comes at a very sensitive time in the educational process. The end of the final school year is still a school year, and final exams and second semester grades are still valid to many colleges and universities. There are many horror stories of hardworking students losing scholarships and admittance to school because of their final semester behavior or GPA.

In fact, it’s such a big problem that in the past some school systems have instituted programs and projects to keep students busy with loads of deadlines to avoid the perceived “laziness” in last semester students. The idea for many administrators and teachers is to beat the motivation into students by assigning massive projects, or by teaching arbitrary lessons to fill the empty gaps in the curriculum. And while this may help some students combat Seniorits, for the majority is definitely is not. 

Instead of upping the workload, or just allowing students to wander aimlessly, teachers and administration should focus on giving students lessons on life in the future. Kids aren’t stupid, they will see the value in lessons on managing money, applying to jobs, and maintaining relationships. Then, not only would Senioritis be drastically diminished in the school system, but graduates would feel more prepared for all aspects of their new lives, certainly not dulled down after a month of lazy floating.

Senioritis is real, and is a problem. But it’s a product of relatable and healthy anxiety, not simple laziness. So rather than treating it as such, maybe we should all try to fight that anxiety to replace it with preparedness, and hope.