How to avoid that common and insidious disease: Senioritis

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A enactment of what having senioritis feels like. Seniors just want to sleep. (Left: Seniors Xavier Villanueva & Right: Naomi Jones.) Credit: Marjorie Hsu

Marjorie Hsu, Co-edtior in Chief

Senioritis season is alive and well, and unfortunately there is no vaccine. However there are methods seniors can practice to avoid it. Senioritis is a funny term for the laziness that often accompanies seniors when they reach their last semester in high school. However, it’s important to finish off on a good note for graduation and college. 

AP Stats teacher Mike Corriveau who teaches mostly seniors said senioritis happens in the “second semester because your college applications were done, or virtually done. All of your grades are based on your first semester so seniors start to…their mind starts to wonder what they’re going to do in the future. They don’t think the grades in the semester matter as much so they take off their foot off of the accelerator,” he added.

When senior Arion McCondichie was asked if he had senioritis he said, “Yes, and the third school I’ve been accepted to made me feel a little bit less stressed, so I’ve decided to just relax.” He also added, “Every single one of my classes has at least one person that I’m friends with that has senioritis.”

He explains that it is because “I feel like people are so exhausted from the stress of the year and the semester before that they want to take a break once they get accepted or when they’ve accomplished something.”

When jokingly asked if senioritis was contagious, Corriveau said, “As a teacher of seniors, I expect it. I’m not going to say it naturally occurs, but the teachers who have seniors come to expect it. I think it is individualized. I don’t think it’s contagious. I just think that it is part of their DNA. I don’t think that somebody looks at somebody else that has senioritis says ‘Oh, I’m now going to have senioritis,’” he added. 

Depending on how intensely a student lets senioritis affect them, a senior could be unable to graduate or lose their college acceptance. Corriveau said the worst case he has seen was “two years ago, I had a person failing AP Stats, and they had their offer withdrawn. That’s bad.”

McCondichie said one of the worst cases of senioritis he’s seen was one of last year’s seniors. “He got accepted into Georgia State and he was excited so he stopped caring about any of his grades in high school for the second semester, and he got a three on his final exam. This made him fail the class. Thankfully, it wasn’t a mandatory class because he had extra credits.”

In order to avoid senioritis, McCondichie said one of the best habits a student can have is “time management with the course of your high school career because as long as you know how to manage your time and you’re not too stressed out and tired all the time then you can stop yourself from being stressed out.”

Corriveau said that one of the first steps in avoiding senioritis is “if they look at the bigger picture, I think that there’s going to be a little bit of a better appreciation on how important it is to run through the finish line, run through the final semester.”

From years of teaching experience, Corriveau said that it’s easier to keep AP students motivated because if they do well in the class and exam they can receive college credit. He also said, “If I see if someone has senioritis, I will have a conversation with them and say ‘Hey, listen, you know what. There’s a bigger price here. Passing the AP is going to save you $2500. It’s going to help you with college credits and help you accelerate through college.’ Sometimes you have to give them a friendly reminder that they should do their best to run through the finish line,” he added.

On the other hand, Corriveau said non-AP courses become a little trickier. “We’ve got Pre-calc for example. I can have conversations with the individuals, but that’s a mindset thing. It’s like having a conversation with them and they’re going ‘Hey, I hear you, but I’m going to ignore you.’ So, if they end up failing the course, they can have their offer withdrawn. That is the ultimate consequence, and we’ve seen that here. Does this happen a lot? No. Are there ways teachers can engage students? Yes, there are different things we can do. We can do different types of activities to make it as interesting as possible. We can make it relevant to them. Take pre-calculus for example, we’re doing vectors, matrices, and probabilities. Those are three things they are going to see in college, so it’s relevant to them,” he added.

If you’re a senior student struggling to stay motivated, remember there’s only three months until graduation. Additionally, taking advantage of any test or quiz retakes will help your overall grade. Even if you’ve been accepted into a college, it is still important to upkeep good transcripts as they also take those into account. Ending the semester on a good note will be worth the effort.