Senioritis: I’m Not Staying Sane

Before school started, I wrote a piece titled “Back to School: How to Stay Sane Another Year”. Back then, I thought this post would be necessary and enduring. And maybe it was necessary at the time… but it feels useless now. 

It should have been obvious from the moment I set foot on campus to start my last year of high school that there was no winning. 

We all think Senioritis is a myth. Or… we know it’s real we just don’t pay attention to it. Or we think we won’t fall victim to it because we’re the “intellectuals”. Senioritis is for the people who don’t want to be there anyways, right?

WRONG!

Senioritis is for everyone. Everyone.

Let me know if you are a senior who has never felt the desire to be done with school. To go home and not come back, but still magically graduate on time with the grades you expect. To give up entirely in class and stare into the oblivion that never ends. Let me know if that’s you, I’d love to hear your tips for staying sane. 

For the rest of us… senioritis is hitting hard right about now. Or it’s going to. Or it has for the past six months. 

I told myself being positive would keep me sane. I said that going with the flow was the right course of action. In that above post (which is also linked here), I reminded everyone what the purpose of education was. 

I don’t know what I was thinking

Okay, yes all those things are viable. It helps no one to be pessimistic about every facet of life. Going with the flow helps everyone not lose their minds over the little things. And education is still very purposeful, even though it feels like it’s taking forever. 

The thing is, this isn’t enough. They don’t fend off the inevitable plague: Senioritis. 

To fully understand this disease, let’s turn to Google:

Noun. A supposed affliction of students in their final year of high school or college, characterized by a decline in motivation or performance.”

I had to edit a little, but this seems like an appropriate definition. Basically… we’re losing our minds. The light at the end of the tunnel is in sight, but it feels so… far… away. 

What are some symptoms? EdMD has this incomplete list:

  • Mild to moderate cases of staring out the window
  • Swollen ego
  • Homework fatigue
  • Inflammation of the whining gland
  • Acute mediocrity
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Excessive tardiness
  • Classroom intolerance
  • Excessive hallway wandering
  • Existential malaise

Alright, let’s break this down one by one. Maybe we’ll be able to find some counter-attacks to these feelings of pointlessness. 

  1. Mild to moderate cases of staring out the window

I don’t find myself doing this too often. Maybe because all the classrooms I’m in don’t have windows. My eyes do glaze over by about midday, and only the rescue of lunch gives me enough strength to continue to care. 

Do you find yourself staring off into space a lot? It’s hard to care about what’s going on around you when you’ve already made decisions about your future – where you’re going to college, what you’re studying, maybe what career field you’re going into. And of course, all those senior trip plans. Whatever random fact we’re learning in math just doesn’t seem that important. 

So what do we do about this? How do we stay focused? Take more time to relax. 

Maybe you should actually give yourself eight hours of sleep. Maybe you should begin rewarding a certain amount of hard work with one episode of a show. Giving your brain more space to decompress will help you focus more when you actually need to – like in the middle of a statistics exam.

  1. Swollen ego

I don’t think I struggle with this one either. If anything, I’m folding more into myself than I ever have before. 

Cure for this one: remind yourself you’re only human. You aren’t a god because you made it to senior year. A whole lot of other people have already done that. Nor are you the best simply because you made it to the top of the food chain – next year, you’ll be right back at the bottom. 

  1. Homework fatigue

I get home and I take a nap. Or I read. Or I scroll through Twitter. Or I write. Or literally anything that isn’t school related. Even if I don’t have specific assignments to complete, there are still school things I can catch up on right now so I don’t have to worry about them later. But I’m tired of homework and I’m tired of being graded. Why can’t they just average the last 7 semesters and call it good enough?

Nevertheless, I am still being graded. Which means my work still needs to be proficient enough. So, set up a schedule. I know self control can be difficult, so put away the distractions. Simply don’t let yourself look at your phone (hide it if necessary) until you’ve finished that pesky statistics homework that isn’t due for another three weeks but is designed to be done a few problems per day. There’s no need to put undue stress on yourself later. Especially since in a few weeks, you might have less motivation.

  1. Inflammation of the whining gland

Do we whine specifically about school, or about stuff in general? I’m not sure. I do rant a lot, though. About people. Situations. Whatever gives me less reason to be at school. 

Here’s where the positivity comes in. Positive thoughts equals positive outcomes. If you’re a pessimist, things only get worse from here. Perspective is everything. Perhaps things suck, but it’s made infinitely worse by whining constantly about it. 

  1. Acute mediocrity

I’m not sure if the quality of my work has gone down. My motivation to do quality work certainly has. I think I’m still too scared to let my grades drop – I could lose scholarships if I’m not too careful!

And that’s exactly what you should remember. There are actual consequences to giving up now. That college that accepted you wants you because of your merit. They won’t want you if you suddenly get straight D’s the last semester of your high school career – forget that D is for Diploma. D is NOT for keeping scholarships, graduating on time, and developing a good work ethic after high school, whatever you may plan to do.

  1. Short-term memory loss

All those assignments we forgot about. All those things we didn’t want to do, so they conveniently slipped our minds. Those club meetings. That homework that we’ll likely get an extension on anyways. Any and all responsibilities related to school that we’d like to procrastinate on. 

Maybe we all need to invest in a planner. I personally use a planner all the time – or at least before I felt like there was no reason to even care about keeping track of my schedule. But I’m going to reassert the need for a planner. Because again: if something slips your mind, it will probably affect your grade. And we just discussed what would happen if we let our grades slip. 

  1. Excessive tardiness

This is something I’m too anxious to actually participate in. My relationship with rules is love/hate, but I follow them anyways. To be late to class once would violate my internal equilibrium. 

But I do know people who do walk into class late. (At least three people daily in my 1st period). Some people simply don’t show up to school. Whatever the case, I think we need to reassert the importance of education. I went into length about this in my other post, but basically: education = opportunity and success. I don’t feel like going to school either… but it’s socially important to be somewhat educated on various things.

  1. Classroom intolerance

I’m tired of sitting in a chair all day, with only six minutes every hour to get up and walk to my next class. I’m tired of assignments. I’m not tired of learning new things… but this whole grading thing is getting old. 

But refer to my above point: Reassert the importance of education. There’s a point to all this, I promise. 

  1. Excessive hallway wandering

I don’t see this as much as people delaying the moment they have to head to class for as long as possible, thus spending lots of time in the hallways. Though I suppose some people leave class for a “bathroom break” just to take a leisurely walk away from the learning. 

In either case, excessive not-learning practices are unproductive. I’d hate to say this again, but REASSERT THE IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATION. This is literally building our futures. If we aren’t there and engaged, aren’t we just working against ourselves? 

  1. Existential malaise

I had to look up what malaise meant. Basically: feeling restless and uneasy. So together, existential malaise is feeling restless in life right now and feeling uneasy about life in the future. 

We don’t want to be here in high school. But do we really want to go off to big, scary, foreign college? Do we really want to leave easy high school for more difficult college? And then what about after college? What career should we choose? What direction do we want to steer the rest of our lives (because clearly the decisions we make as 18-year-olds defines the rest of our lives with a rigid permanence)? 

We all love a good existential crisis. It spices things up. But here’s one of the most important points of all time: Nothing is set in stone. Nothing you choose now is permanent. You don’t have to decide the rest of your life now. You can change your mind 52 times before the end of college – and I’m sure many people do. My sister’s roommate went from an aerospace engineering degree to studying fashion. Change your mind as many times as you want – there is always time to change later, whether that be when you’re twenty or fifty. 

Senioritis is probably going to kick my butt until graduation. The symptoms will probably persist no matter what we do. But for every “symptom”, there is a combating perspective. If we can all just hang on for a little longer, battling senioritis day by day, we’ll all graduate on time – which is the best cure of all. 

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