An Epidemic Before Its Time

Senioritis has historically influenced the lives of unmotivated seniors, but recently it's affected a new generation of students.


photo by Meg Rees

The heavy load of homework, studying, and extracurriculars has many young students caught with a case of premature senioritis.

Lucie Flagg, Staff Writer

Flooding through the halls of NASH is an illness that has historically taken over the brains and bodies of seniors. But in recent years, students have discerned that this so-called senioritis has spread through the district and into the minds of other high schoolers, even as young as those in their freshman year.

I start to lose passion for learning and don’t work as hard in classes.”

— Emma Bernardi, junior

Senioritis, defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “an ebbing of motivation and effort by school seniors as evidenced by tardiness, absences, and lower grades,” is no stranger to NASH’s graduating class, but recently, it’s formed a relationship with a new group of students.

“I think it’s the stress and pressure of junior year,” said junior Will Palicki. “It’s getting into a good college, getting good grades, having a good GPA, and all of our extracurricular activities that cause an unnecessary amount of stress.”

It’s this stress that has played a sizeable factor in decreasing students’ motivation. Juniors, sophomores, and even freshmen have dealt with immense pressure and stress-inducing factors since the start of middle school. By the time they enter high school, their incentive to work hard is just about gone.

“I started getting premature senioritis during the second semester of freshman year,” said junior Emma Bernardi. “I started to lose passion for learning and didn’t work as hard in classes. I always start out the school year strong then lose the work ethic I began with.”

North Allegheny has always had high-achieving students. Ranked number thirty-seven of the Best School Districts in America, there’s bound to be academic competition and high standards. But for some who just want a simple education without these standards interfering, senioritis may hinder their dedication to work.

“Stress and anxiety are the leading causes of premature senioritis,” said junior Julia Maletta. “The administration needs to decrease the workload. We have lives outside of school.”

Coordinating time between school, extracurriculars, and part-time jobs is stress-inducing enough on its own. Adding in that extra element of homework and essays creates what many students believe is the origin of senioritis and its many side effects. 

“Even though it is important to be mature and responsible and do things now that will positively impact your future, putting so much pressure on students and telling them that every little decision could make or break their acceptance into their dream college is very toxic,” said Bernardi. “Students should take the time to take care of themselves and put their own mental health first.”

While self-care may be a step in the right direction towards resolving senioritis, many NASH students cannot stop from overworking themselves. Late nights, early mornings, and constant studying have become second nature in the North Allegheny bubble. For some, senioritis is a lost cause, but others just want to ensure safety and security for their futures. 

Palicki gave perhaps the best advice on how to avoid senioritis: “Students should think about the bigger goal past high school — how college and your career define your life after high school. Don’t give up early on something that means so much.”