Eve Gross | Torrey Pines High School Senior
Right now, a brief scan of almost any classroom of high school seniors across the country would paint the same picture. Some are working diligently, others are copying the work of those who bothered to do it, a few are watching Netflix, a couple more are sleeping, and the rest simply aren’t there. And don’t be deceived; although as it might appear as such, it’s not pajama day. Whether second semester has already begun or is on the horizon, senioritis has officially taken over.
Merriam-Webster defines senioritis as “an ebbing of motivation and effort by school seniors as evidenced by tardiness, absences, and lower grades,” but perhaps “ebbing” is a little too generous. Take Urban Dictionary’s top definition: “A crippling disease that strikes high school seniors. Symptoms include: laziness, an over-excessive wearing of track pants, old athletic shirts, sweatpants, athletic shorts, and sweatshirts. Also features a lack of studying, repeated absences, and a generally dismissive attitude. The only known cure is a phenomenon known as Graduation.”
Samantha Zhu, a senior at Canyon Crest Academy, said she had heard of senioritis ever since she first entered high school and expected it to affect her at some point, which came after the first week of senior year. Zhu decided to replace her organic chemistry class with a free period, which she said she now uses to do things like nap or get coffee.
“As for general symptoms of senioritis, I feel less pressure to succeed on the little things; for instance, if I don’t get the best grade on a stats test I won’t be losing sleep over it,” Zhu said. “Living and experiencing the academic lifestyle in such a saturated manner can be a bit tiring, so I completely understand how after things are winding down by senior year, people don’t try as hard.”
She also said that she and her friends have experienced the condition at different degrees; some miss school at nearly every opportunity they have, others work as hard as they have in past years, and she falls somewhere in the middle.
Yury Bukhradze, a senior at Torrey Pines High School, said that more than feeling burnt out, senioritis is sparked by a desire to be beyond high school, wherever that may be.
“I still care about school, but I often find myself losing interest in studying,” Bukhradze said. “I’m just going on autopilot.”
Going to bed at 12 or 1 a.m. and waking up 10 minutes before leaving for school, Bukhradze said, is his most prevalent symptom. He also said that despite the fact that this is the busiest year of high school yet, he’s spent more time browsing memes and playing video games.
While it does have its downsides, Zhu, who was “pretty good about time management” throughout high school, juggling tutoring gigs, internships and ballet, among other things, said that senioritis has been beneficial, allowing her to explore undiscovered passions and make new friends.
“I’ve noticed myself spending more time on different activities that are probably perceived as ‘less academic’ such as playing the ukulele, sewing, gardening, and sketching,” Zhu said. “If this is what my senioritis is, then I welcome it.”