Senioritis: A real problem for 12th grade students

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 15, 2015

Senioritis [seen-yer-ahy-tis] noun — A social malady experienced in varying degrees by most high school seniors. It is characterized by apathy, boredom and a dismissive attitude toward school, homework and other academic activities.

I first heard about senioritis as a high school underclassman, and I vowed I’d never fall prey to it.

Yet, when my senior year arrived, I eagerly numbered each date in my calendar with the days until graduation – and my slide into a full-blown case of senioritis began.

The slide was gradual, but senior privileges, such as off-campus lunch, prom and early dismissal made me more eager than ever to move on to the next stage of my life.

The first part of one’s senior year is busy and stressful. Students finish up college applications, wait for responses and decide where they want to attend.

The semester is filled with stress, decisions and busyness.

During the second half of the year, however, things slow down and senioritis really starts to set in.

By then, most students have a pretty good idea of where they’ll be spending the next four years of their life, and special senior events, such as field days, cap and gown fittings, senior portraits and graduation invitation ordering sessions, creep into their normal schedules.

Local students aren’t immune to the symptoms of senioritis.

“I have senioritis coming on,” said Carson High School senior Haley Cranford, who said it’s harder than ever to get out of bed in the morning.

“The day just kind of goes by really slow,” she said. “You just have excitement to get out.”

“I can feel myself getting more excited as the year goes on,” Cranford added.

Her eagerness for graduation, however, is tempered by the realization that this is her last semester with her friends.

“I know when I get out I’m going to miss it a lot,” she said.

Sabrinah Hartsell, a senior at North Rowan, said senioritis hits her in waves.

“Some days I have this attitude of I’m ready to leave – I’m ready to get out,” she said.

Other days, however, Hartsell said she’s hit with nostalgia and the realization she’ll soon be leaving the place she’s called home for the past four years.

“My senior year definitely has been very different,” she said. “It didn’t really hit me that I was a senior until we started doing things like ordering cap and gown.”

Expectations from herself, her teachers and others keep Hartsell motivated and keep her from letting senioritis get the best of her.

“It motivates me to get up and go to school and listen,” she said. “It’s what I expect of myself – to do well in school.”

“Senioritis definitely occurs,” said Carson theater teacher Alex Reynolds.

He added that it’s not nearly as prevalent in “the ones who are invested in something” such as athletes or theater students.

These activities keep students engaged much longer than those who just come to school for class.

“I think it’s just like anything in life – firsts and lasts are really special,” Reynolds said.

His students have a senior circle every year during their spring musical, a tradition they look forward to until their last year of school.

“It’s a cool, emotional moment,” he said.

Reynolds said he encourages his students to try to get something out of each class every day.

“The everyday matters,” Reynolds said. “If they can own that, they can be successful.”