Working through “Senioritis” and a general unwillingness to do anything


Aurora Nicol

Graphic of a student staring into the depths of their computer late at night

Aurora Nicol, Editor in Chief

With the sun setting earlier and earlier in the day- while we’re stuck at school- and the ability to wear fun and flirty sundresses disappearing, seasonal depression looms over the heads of most students. It seems most of the people I talk to every day grapple with depression, anxiety, or their individual form of low motivation. Of course, the argument that the people I’m interacting with aren’t reflective of the population could be made, except the data from our school’s surveys, and students across the nation seem to reflect the same anguish: we don’t want to do anything.
Although it seems like a dirty word or an embarrassing phase we don’t want to talk about, COVID-19 stunted everyone. It traces back almost three years now, to when it was just first introduced as a disease across the Pacific that we may or may not have to worry about. Well, we did, and we still do. I often find myself blanking on my sophomore year completely, since I had been virtual for 80% of the school year. After a struggling year in algebra 2 that depended on friends’ notes and taking quizzes aided by Khan Academy at midnight, passing precalculus looked impossible. I had to hire a tutor before I ever got a B on a unit test. Just like hundreds of others, learning loss is still hitting us in the face. Now, with a year out of virtual hell the attempt to complete eight classes worth of school work while juggling extracurriculars, work, and my own personal relationships has seemed tedious.
There are plenty of social issues at work for me to blame. But, I can also look around, breathe and realize that I, indeed, am the problem. I chose difficult coursework, participated in extracurriculars, and applied to more than three colleges. So why don’t I care about it more? It frequents my mind when I’ve waited until the last minute to do an assignment that really, nothing that bad will happen if I go to bed now. I might have an awkward interaction with my teacher and be full of guilt, but if I already am then what’s the worst that could happen? If the overwhelming majority of the student body dislikes school just as much as I do, why do I have to be different? I could just take a nap.
And most of the time, I do take that nap. The fifty percent grade cushion is like a little comfort for me while I fall into my daily post-school slumber. My brain at school is practically reminiscent of the COVID hybrid year, coming to school and doing work on my Mac and then coming home and checking back out until the next morning. If I only have so many months left, why keep going now? Putting it on paper now makes it seem that there are some obvious answers,
Senioritis isn’t real; semester 1 isn’t even over
You need a Lexapro prescription
I can vividly remember sometime before winter break during my junior year overhearing Mr. Nguyen explaining to a group of seniors that they need to wait for their senioritis to “kick in” until at least February. And I remember thinking to myself, “senioritis is totally fake.” God, I wish that was true. Instead, it’s like, the first day of your senior year and you’ve been staring down this monstrous creature for 12 years but suddenly it’s a little more like a puppy than a rabies ridden rottweiler. And now it just feels ridiculous to bide to a puppy’s will.
How do we do it? How am I supposed to stay motivated? I know soon enough I’ll get to take the puppy home, I know that personally, I have almost all my credits. I’ve been guaranteed at least a diploma as long as I pass Government. Does that make everything else optional? No.
It’s a constant reminder every morning that I actually do enjoy learning- even if it feels like I’m not every day. It’s that my grades still matter. One more assignment and I can have whatever it is I’m seeking. Colleges will still see this semester. But also taking to account that yeah, it’s okay to go to sleep rather than stay up another hour doing nothing but staring at my word doc.
Senioritis is defined as, “a supposed affliction of students in their final year of school, characterized by a decline in motivation or performance,” and I think all of us, seniors or not, are grappling with this same alleged affliction. Whether it is from the weather, COVID’s slump, the rising cost of living, working, family issues, and the whole kitchen sink, there’s a constant bit of tension surrounding our every interaction. People are lost and upset. I know I am.