Opinion: The Senior Sickness

As the Class of ’22 concludes their high school journey, staying motivated and avoiding senioritis can be increasingly difficult.


photo by Jess Daninhirsch

As college acceptances and graduation draws nearer, the feeling of senioritis begins to take the senior class by storm.

Maddie Harris, Arts and Entertainment Editor

I think I can vouch for most seniors when I say that most of us have experienced some periods of senioritis throughout our last year of high school, especially now that the second semester is upon us. I always thought senioritis was more of a myth or an excuse made up by lazy students. Yet here I am writing about it.

I can clearly remember the first time I heard about this phenomenon. I was sitting in my journalism class when I looked up at the wall in front of me, noticing a poster staring right back.  The picture depicts the evolution, or in this case devolution, of a high school senior, from perky and standing high in September to crawling towards May and June. I always told myself that it would never be me.

I could not have been more wrong.

I have always been a very studious person — straight A’s, hand raised high in class, eager to participate and learn. I was the student who whipped out their 50-count pen variety pack, drawing detailed headings to separate each topic in my notes.

I’m not saying that version of me is completely gone, but my enthusiasm towards school has dropped noticeably. Having been the type of person who was excited to go to school every morning, the one who cries on the last day of school, and the person who wakes up extra early on the first day of school, I’ve definitely changed. Instead of the student who started their homework as soon as they got home from school, I’d now rather take a long nap upon arrival back home and procrastinate all night.

A part of me is sad to see that side of me go, but I know I am not alone in that regard.

Of course, senioritis affects not just the graduating class at NA, but high school seniors globally. In fact, it doesn’t just affect teens. Although the term is commonly used to describe the feeling at the end of senior year, it can be used to describe many transitions between critical periods in life — the ending of a chapter and the beginning of a new one. 

I have begun to look at school and everyday life in a different way now that I am a second-semester senior.

Quoting therapist Suzanne Rhinehardt, an article in Belmont Vision states, “In addition to being a response to mountains of work, senioritis also represents a ‘naturally occurring way to disengage.’ Some seniors recognize that they’re about to leave the community in which they’ve lived for the past four years, and this can result in them mentally checking out.”

The article adds, “While seniors are certainly more susceptible to the ‘sickness,’ an unfortunate reality is that any student can contract something like it.”

I can attest to the fact that I have put much less work into school the last few weeks, simply because I have lost the motivation.

The excuse I always tell myself is that I’m already in college, so it doesn’t matter. Knowing I have already been accepted into my top colleges definitely makes my high school work less important in my mind. Derivatives and neuron transport hardly seem like something I need to be worrying about right now.

Some days are much harder than others. I find certain moments to be increasingly difficult to leave my bed and will myself to school. The loss of motivation and overall purpose is an ongoing process that I have yet to master.

However, I have begun to look at school and everyday life in a different way now that I am a second-semester senior. Yes, grades still matter in order to graduate, but I don’t need to stress about every little thing regarding school. I am more focused on enjoying my last memories in high school because after this year things will never be the same in my life. I want to remember the fun moments with friends from my senior year, not losing sleep over homework and tests that, in the grand scheme of things, will not affect my future. 

To help myself try and improve my mood, I have been planning fun trips to enhance my high school experience, get out of my comfort zone, and give my life a feeling of purpose again. Change is very hard for me to deal with, and the end of high school will certainly be the biggest change in my life thus far. However, I am realizing that it doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but rather the start of a brand new life for myself. This feeling of new opportunities fills me with hope for the future. 

So before my motivation runs out once again, to all my fellow seniors: put yourself and your personal happiness first, and good things will come your way. We are almost there, so don’t waste a moment.  Instead, make the most of it, and you will certainly remember the laughs and smiles through it all.