Hey, what do I know about “Senioritis”? – I’m just a Freshman. This year at RHS was the first time that I even heard that word. Initially, it sounded like some weird disease. I imagined that maybe it meant being inordinately wise, as if there was a limit that was dangerous if surpassed.
But as people began to murmur little comments about “Senioritis” and being “so done” in the library or the cafeteria, I was beginning to get the impression that perhaps it could be the elation of finally getting into college after so much work and so many years, and perhaps this led to a kind of reckless jubilation. Why not, right? The weather is good, the college essays have been written, and even if the college search has been difficult, there is always the opportunity to be a non-matriculated student for a year, at a myriad of prestigious colleges, and then transfer.
But I digress – back to “Senioritis” – what could this mythical word mean? I began a study, and with the help of many of the seniors, including my “Senior” sister, I was able to collect different viewpoints on “Senioritis” through interviews and written surveys.
Turns out, despite my initial intuition, many people did not view this condition of “Senioritis” as a positive. In many cases, it was viewed as a kind of motivational issue, causing them to want to hang out with friends and experience “freedom.” Friends and freedom sound good to me, maybe this should be part of our lives all the way through? Who knows? So I kept questioning.
Also, people mentioned “opportunity cost” in connection with “Senioritis.” Somehow, when experiencing “Senioritis” students felt that they no longer had to consider the “opportunity cost” of finally doing what they wanted. Students suggested that they were more able to pick the activities they liked without worrying about the future.
In my surveys, students mentioned that the end of High School seemed to be almost a popping of the “bubble” that they had lived in for these last years in Bergen County. While they would miss their day-to-day life experiences, they were also looking forward to a new “diversity” of adventures.
There was also a component of relief and comfort embedded in the idea of “Senioritis.” One senior suggested that at the end of so many years of work: “There’s a lot more certainty about future plans too, which is definitely relieving.”
So “Senioritis” is the alleviation of stress and the rush of new opportunities? Maybe, but just to be sure I also asked Seniors what advice they would give to a younger student facing the future possibility of “Senioritis.” Seniors in the survey wanted younger students to know that college decisions are not as life-altering as they might initially appear, advising future students: “You can be successful wherever you go, as long as you work hard and you are passionate about what you’re studying.”
Some Seniors asserted that “Senioritis definitely exists” and that there was no cure. But they had the same life-affirming message: “It’s never too late to start working hard because it will carry you far through life.”
After talking to Seniors and reading through their surveys, it almost began to seem to me that “Senioritis” was a kind of reappraisal of values. Perhaps realizing that you want to spend time with your friends, and pursue the opportunities that really interest you is part of growing up. Maybe everyone is eventually supposed to confront the issue of becoming the person that they want to be, instead of just what everyone else expects. From this perspective, maybe “Senioritis” is not that bad. Basically, it’s your life, spend it with cool people doing work that allows you to have self-respect.
Graphic: Viane Matsibekker