How ‘Senioritis’ affects the Class of 2020

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Photographer: Kelsey D.

“I think ‘senioritis’ is a real thing, but I think it kicks in after students get accepted into schools because they feel like they have less to worry about.” -F. Al-Sulaiti (’20)

Kelsey D., Reporter

It’s almost that time of the school year when seniors are done with college applications. Their GPAs from 7 semesters of hard work are submitted. After weeks of waiting in anticipation, seniors receive those acceptance letters. Everything they’ve worked towards for the past 3 and a half years has been achieved. Their spring semester grades don’t matter so much anymore, right?

Second-semester seniors seem to lose motivation every year, spending more time hanging out with friends and enjoying their last year of high school than worrying about their GPA. The ASD class of 2020 is no different. But what exactly is ‘senioritis’ and how is it affecting ASD seniors?

While the concept of ‘senioritis’ originated as a joke, many seniors and counselors at ASD agree that there is truth to it. ‘Senioritis’ has a variety of different ‘symptoms’ that students experience to various degrees. For some, it means a carefree year without excessive stress over their grades, while others might experience a drastic drop in class effort. But there’s a deeper dilemma when facing the second semester of senior year.

Students may think minimal effort won’t harm them, but there are long term effects of slacking off. Yes, colleges can rescind a student’s acceptance. But perhaps the bigger threat is a lazy study habit that carries into college. What happens when a senior with a mediocre work ethic becomes a freshman in college, but their motivation doesn’t return? If they aren’t in the habit of studying, building back those habits can be challenging.

To students dealing with senioritis, ASD counselor LizNoel Duncan advises, “Keep studying. Keep organizing. Even if you are accepted into university, nothing is a guarantee. You need to keep those grades up because colleges have accepted you assuming your academics will stay the same. But we can say that all we want. It’s more about what your long term goal is and you have to keep working towards that long term goal.”

Students in AP and IB Standard Level courses may be in more danger of losing motivation than IB students, but not by much. Ms. Duncan states, “I think the IB students, because they’ve been working so hard for that final last two grades, most of them will stay focused until the exams.” This may be because IB students are required to pass their IB exams for class credit, while AP students who fail AP exams can still pass the ASD class.

Many seniors, including F. Al-Sulaiti, J. Scott, and N. Khatib, consider themselves to have ‘senioritis.’ They are anxious about getting accepted into university. But their ‘symptoms’ are vastly different.

Scott stated, “Because universities look at activities and grades from sophomore and junior year, that’s when I tried as hard as possible.” Now, without that pressure from colleges, he feels more at ease and more relaxed.

Al-Sulaiti felt the exact opposite, stating, “I am worried about getting into the university that I want to. I can’t focus on what I’m doing because I keep stressing. I have been feeling extremely anxious the past few months ever since I submitted my first college application.”

Perhaps ‘senioritis’ should not be taken so lightly. While it may seem like an excuse to be lazy, many seniors are busy stressing over college applications or figuring out their plan after high school. The unmotivated demeanor seniors show in class might be because their focus is presented elsewhere.

The only known cure for ‘senioritis’ is graduation.

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