Senioritis: A High School Epidemic


Winter break is over, the ACT is out of the way and college applications have been sent. Since many seniors have already been accepted into college by now, it’s common for seniors to think, ‘What is the point of high school now?’

Coined “senioritis,” this phenomenon is a senior’s lack of motivation towards school and studies in general. Some regular examples of “senioritis” behavior include skipping classes, slacking on assignments, or completing the bare minimum in class. 

 “When there’s no need for high school anymore- you already got accepted into college and you already know what you’re doing next year- it doesn’t feel like there is a reason to be here,” Senior Trenton Sandler said. Many other seniors believe that “senioritis” is normal and not necessarily damaging. “It’s harmless, everyone experiences it at some point.”

Similarly to Sandler, many seniors feel as though they should use their last semester to reward themselves for their hard work over the last four years of high school. These behaviors can be attributed to students developing an “end-goal” mindset. In this case, if the “end goal” is getting accepted into a college, many students may mentally shut off after reaching that goal.

“Burnout” is another factor that contributes to senioritis. Senior Meghan Coleman, mentions that the academic pressure of high school can wear students down by senior year.

“A lot of students are burnt out after trying so hard for four years, so it’s normal to lose motivation by the end of high school,” Coleman said. 

Coleman also thinks that ultimately, senioritis is harmless. 

“Senioritis has its drawbacks when you don’t learn the material you’re supposed to learn, but overall, it doesn’t hurt you long term since you spend so much time at school before second-semester senior year,” Coleman said.

While several seniors believe senioritis is a benign condition, many teachers would argue that it can have harmful effects in the long run. AP Literature teacher, Shelley Weir, has observed that senioritis can damage a student’s work ethic and set them back in the real world. 

“When we start senioritis in February, you’re losing the opportunity to build up resilience to do anything you dislike or don’t want to do. Resilience is being able to dislike something you have to do, but you still do it really well because it’s worth doing,” Weir said.

She emphasizes the importance of learning how to push through tasks even when the desire to do them is gone. Weir’s advice to students experiencing fatigue is to always reach out for help because help is readily available.

“So many times, we think, ‘I have this problem, and I can’t let anyone know this. There is strength in having the ability to ask for help. Just because you’re a senior doesn’t mean you can’t understand something,” Weir said. 

Many teachers believe that not only are there academic disadvantages to seniors mentally clocking out before graduation, but there are mental disadvantages as well. 

“We stop seeing the beauty of the moment,” Weir said. “Senior year is supposed to suck a little because you have that tension of wanting out, but at the same time, you’re leaving the place you’ve known for the last four years. There’s a melancholy that comes with that. You’re missing out on reveling in this time that you will never be able to get back.”