Tanvi Bajpai
May 28, 2015 9:25 am

Every school year, starting in about February, high school seniors slowly start disappearing from their classrooms; on the off chance that they’re actually in class, they can usually be found in the back of room napping, or somewhere in the corner doodling or Snapchatting. Sometimes, they’ll hand in their homework assignments, while other times, they won’t even remember to put the assignment in their backpack to take home (that is, if they’re even still carrying their backpack).

By May, the only time they’ll raise their hand is probably to ask to use the bathroom, and instead of going to the bathroom, they’ll probably just leave school because they have their license and can drive away into the sunset whenever they want. This phenomenon probably sounds like weird, mass mind-control, but it’s actually known as Senioritis. It’s a high school teacher’s worst nightmare, and an underclassman dream. Most teachers will tell you that Senioritis is something that seniors made up to use as an excuse to procrastinate and be lazy; they couldn’t be more wrong.

As a very academically active high school student, I was skeptical of Senioritis. I mean, I definitely saw the seniors in my school slack off during the last months of the school year, but I always assumed that it was their choice to not do work. But actually becoming a ‘second semester senior’ was a different story. After my first semester grades were finalized and sent to the colleges I applied to, I could feel myself not wanting to do work. Senioritis is real, and it is unavoidable.

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to do my homework, I just couldn’t ever bring myself to do it anymore. I suddenly stopped panicking about tests. My essays started getting more and more informal. During tests, if I didn’t know an answer, I wouldn’t try and come up with an explanation to get partial credit like I would before. Instead, I’d draw a silly cartoon and write “sorry :(”. Thankfully, my grades are fine, since they were high enough before my Senioritis started, but I was still surprised to find myself slacking off; I thought I was simply incapable of getting lazy with my assignments, but apparently not.

It’s taken me days to actually get around to writing this article. Why? Senioritis. (Oh, the irony.)

The reason seniors experience Senioritis actually makes a lot of sense if you think about it: For the past three and a half years, students pull all-nighters and study non-stop to get high grades, to work towards having an impressive transcript, so that they can get into a good college. Once their college applications are done, and first semester grades are sent, there’s nothing much left for them to do. There is no more urgency, and no more stress. Seniors are free just be teenagers rather than high school students.  For three and a half years, they’ve been in a rat race with their classmates, but now  it’s ended and there’s nothing more they can do. It’s almost like they lose a purpose (because unfortunately, school has become more about getting good grades and acing standardized tests than actually learning.)

Senioritis becomes worse when actual college decisions come back. Once seniors know where they’ll be going to college, they’re pretty much done with high school. All they need to do know is show up enough times to be able to graduate, attend prom, and actually go through the graduation ceremony. Their grades just need to be high enough so that their future college won’t rescind their acceptance, which requires minimal effort (unless their grades are abysmally low already, in which case senioritis is a luxury they can’t afford).

Some seniors will use this new free time to focus on their hobbies. I, for instance, have actually resumed reading books for fun, which is something I haven’t done in a while, considering all of the class novels and summer reading books I’ve been assigned. I also took my dog to the dog park last week for the first time in years, which made us both really happy. One of my friends is trying to make a mixtape, while another is simply trying to catch up on her TV shows and sleep. Someone I know has actually been using all of her free time just to update her tumblr’s html and change its theme almost every single day. Other (more adventurous) seniors will use this time to go out and visit New York, or road trip to other places within their reach.

Senioritis is not some excuse for seniors to get lazy; it’s the effect of seniors literally being left aimless once they’ve gotten into college. They don’t do work, because they honestly have no reason to anymore. There is no cure (besides graduating, of course).

And lets be honest, the only people who actually use it as an excuse to slack off are the juniors.

(Image via here.)

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