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Senioritis is Not Just a Lack of Motivation and it Affects Seniors in Different Ways
Published: March 15, 2023
It is more than a lack of motivation. It’s knowing that there is something in the future to look forward to. It’s feeling like there is nothing left to be done right now, that a waiting game is being played. Senioritis is real and it’s different for every senior.
Senioritis is commonly believed to be something made up by seniors as an excuse to not do their work and to slack off. But many seniors and the senior class counselor believe that it is something that truly does affect seniors.
“I definitely think [senioritis is] a real thing because I think you see it with students even when they’re in college too,” Class of 2023 counselor Lorraine Smith said. “I think anytime you’re looking at moving on to that next thing and feeling like you’ve already accomplished what it is that you need to accomplish here.”
It affects each senior differently. Most seniors feel the general lack of motivation, but many also see the excitement for what comes next and for the freedom they will soon have. Doing the same thing everyday for 12 years has had a major effect on senior Jake Peterson and his senioritis.
“[Senioritis] is more of the excitement to be out into the real world and have a little bit more freedom, opposed to a lack of motivation,” Peterson said.
There’s only one semester left. It’s when senioritis hits the hardest. Grades don’t seem to matter as much, many are already accepted into college. Other than prom, there’s not much left to look forward to. Some experience it much sooner, sometimes even as early as junior year. That’s how it was for both senior Emma Landwehr and Peterson.
“I think it leaps into junior year when you’re planning for all of it because that’s when it hit me,” Landwehr said. “Because everything seemed impossible. But there’s so much stuff to do. And then you get it done, it’s not that bad.”
Finding something to do that you love in the final semester is what Smith, Peterson and Landwehr all recommend to help with senioritis. It helps to relieve some of the dread and feelings of pointlessness.
“I think anytime that you’re able to get involved in an activity and be a part of something that doesn’t feel like school can be helpful in keeping youengaged and motivated to still come to school and to still be a part of what’s going on here,” Smith said.
Extracurriculars can Worsen Senioritis and Cause Burnout
National Honor Society, Student Council, marching band, choir. These are only a few examples of extracurricular activities that require time spent outside of school. Now for a senior plagued with senioritis, these once fun activities have turned into burdensome responsibilities.
“For other seniors who don’t spend as much time in extracurricular activities as I do, their focus is on something else,” senior Kaitlyn Le said. “Rather than me, who is more focused on extracurriculars rather than my studies.”
Le is involved in marching band, pep band, wind ensemble, MAC Scholars, KOE, NHS, Mu Alpha Theta, Mentors and is also Vice President of Triple A. For seniors like Le, most of their time may be spent participating in their extracurricular activities.
“I feel like it worsens [senioritis] because the amount of time I spend on each extracurricular burns me out,” Le said.
For senior McKenna O’Connor, her extracurricular activities also worsen the feelings of senioritis. Between homework, extracurricular activities and a part time job, it may make one question if seniors get any free time to themselves. Senioritis may affect one’s motivation to get any type of work done.
“[During] the free time that I do have, I don’t want to do my school work,” O’Connor said. “When I’m at my extracurricular activities I’m already stressing about all the school work that I still need to do, that I just don’t want to do.”
As a freshman who is new to high school, their drive to participate in extracurriculars may tend to be higher. By senior year, that drive could be worn out. So, in the situation of participating in extracurricular activities, seniors don’t always have the same spirit as they did freshman year.
“If you asked me freshman year I would probably go to every single meeting that I was supposed to be involved in,” Le said. “Now I tend to skip more.”
Dealing with Senioritis
Senioritis is a condition many people my age find themselves with. It always seems to seep its way into our lives once we cross into the second semester of our last year of high school. It starts out simple, you miss a class to get out of a test, skip a Monday every now and then so you can sleep in, turn in an assignment late because it’s not like it really matters. Next thing you know, your attendance is worse than it’s ever been because you’re skipping first hour everyday and your grades are starting to slip from the assignments that “didn’t really matter”, then it starts to manifest itself into burnout, where you wonder why you’re even going to school in the first place.
Everything seems so repetitive once you’ve been doing it for four years. It’s always the same classrooms, same halls, same teachers and the same curriculum at the end of the day. I feel like now that I’ve hit the second semester of my senior year, holding up my grades and GPA for so long now, I just feel exhausted.
Along with the repetitiveness of everyday life as a senior in high school, there’s also the taunting excitement of the future of graduating. I was accepted into the University of Missouri-Kansas City back in September of 2022, only a month after my senior year started. Ever since then, I’ve been eager to start my first college semester, but it was still a whole year away. I signed up for orientation, visited campus a few times with some UMKC graduates and signed up for event notices so I could track all of UMKC events for incoming freshmen. Going to high school for my first semester as a senior knowing that I was so close to graduating and going to my dream school was a torture, and definitely made me question why I was even still in high school.
A huge part of college that makes it a much better improvement to highschool is having the freedom to pick my own classes. Besides for your gen-eds, I can choose to only learn about things that pertain to my degree and personal interests. Which I believe is what learning should be all about. Students don’t want to take classes that don’t interest them, which is a huge downside to high school.
Another contributing factor to my senioritis was having friends that had already graduated from high school. Seeing them sleep in on the weekdays, working days so they have nights off, it makes me envious of their lives. Hanging out with them was always difficult too because I had school all day, and I could never stay out late with them because I would have to be in class early the next day. It made me feel left out, like I couldn’t truly fit in with the crowd until I graduated, which only made me want to skip class more.
All these factors seem to contribute to my senioritis, yet they also make me more excited for my last year of high school. With such little time left before we graduate and start college, I find myself wanting to savor what I have left of the school year. For the first time in my life I’ve been wanting to go to school events more often, get involved in clubs and take as many classes as possible. Even with all the reminders of why graduation can’t come sooner, I’m still reminded of what I’m gonna miss when I leave.
Which is why even with the desire to skip everyday, the lack of motivation and the burnout, I still want to do my best for my last semester and go out with a bang for my last year.
Seniors Don’t Have Much Left to Look Forward to
While junior year is probably filled with keeping grades up and getting a good ACT score, senior year can tend to be more relaxed with just making sure deadlines for both high school and college are being met. During the last semester of the school year, some seniors are itching to get out and some seniors are not ready to leave.
“I think you should try to get through it in an optimistic way,” senior Shaylea Flieger said. “You can’t do some of these things ever again but it is also something you just have to deal with.”
Most seniors that have been admitted to college are working the same, if not harder to keep their grades up. If grades go down, colleges can remove their acceptance or remove any scholarship opportunities.
“My work ethic has definitely increased since I’ve been admitted to Lindenwood,” senior Kael Schaefering said. “It makes me want to try harder and not want to quit yet because you can lose scholarships even after being admitted with one.”
Not all seniors are happy about graduating and leaving for college. Most high schoolers have had a routine in place for the past four years and that change of pace could be scary and some seniors may shy away because of the change. As the last semester for seniors starts coming to a close, the gears may shift and seniors that are admitted to college and had a case of senioritis may now miss the past four years of memories.