Senioritis: Not just an excuse

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By Cole Seefus

It is a condition most seniors are familiar with, especially when fourth quarter comes around. The apathetic, drastic drop in academic performance and motivation has been coined “senioritis” in high school culture. Question is whether this is an excuse or legitimate reason for inaction.

Bellevue West social worker Sarah Fehringer said senioritis is absolutely legitimate. Though she attributes most other grades’ lack of performance on spring, she notices seniors have a more extreme case.

“Spring weather gets nice, and people are sick of being in school, kids and adults. Seniors more so, though. They lack motivation, [they] desire to be out, [and they] have little concentration. Those that it gets the better of drop and skip,” Fehringer said.

With a Masters in Social Work and licenses as a clinical social worker and mental health practitioner, Fehringer is considered an expert on these issues. The symptoms of senioritis, she said, could be viewed as anxiety.

“You see kids [seniors] tired of being here. They’re chill, yet stressed with Prom preparation and senior paper. [They’re] happy and giddy, yet nervous,” Fehringer said.

She speculates the cause is excitement for the future. Fehringer estimated somewhere around 70 percent of seniors have plans for after graduation at this point.

“It’s the last summer before college, and most of them are more than ready to start their new lives. I’d say about 80 percent of the senior class experiences some degree of senioritis,” Fehringer said.

Senior Aubrey Snedeker fits in the majority. Though she did not want to disclose specifics, Snedeker admitted to a steady decrease in academic motivation.

“As the school year’s gotten shorter, my grades have been slipping, and I care less,” Snedeker said.

Her favorite class, yearbook, has even been affected. Compared to her other courses, however, the slack has been less noticeable.

“I procrastinate more [in yearbook], but still complete everything needed, unlike my other classes,” Snedeker said.

Despite Snedeker’s realization of her lack of focus, she does not foresee a change in course. More than that, her apathy does not bother her.

“Hopefully [the rest of this is school year] is fast, fun, and [has] more procrastinating,” Snedeker said.

Fellow senior Tony McDill also meets the norm. He says he’s anxious to graduate and has lost a lot of motivation. His slacking, on the other hand, started in the fall rather than spring.

“[Senioritis began] at like, the start of senior year. I’m not failing, but they aren’t straight A’s either. [They’re] just not as spectacular as other years’,” McDill said.

Rather than the 80 percent estimate given by Fehringer, McDill views senioritis as more absolute and widespread.

“It feels like everybody [is affected]. Everybody’s talking about it,” McDill said.

Whether it’s 80 percent or the whole senior population, senioritis seems a serious threat to productivity. Either way, it’s an individual student’s decision to break underneath its pressure.

“Some people act out on it and skip; others just grind it out and do it,” Fehringer said.