Senioritis: a phenomenon not limited to the senior class

graphic: Elizabeth Teng

graphic: Elizabeth Teng

We all know the signs: a binge viewing of all three seasons of American Horror Story, an inability to focus on derivatives while watching the PHS lawn fill with students on a sunny, 70-degree day. Suddenly, studying has less appeal than the wisdom tooth removal you scheduled for the start of spring break. We’ve maintained focus and concentration all year, but recently, as evidenced by the accumulating attendance points and unfinished worksheets in our backpacks, it just has not been happening.

Seniors have their own reasons for this lapse in productivity. The first wave of early decision and rolling admission results hits the class in December. Juniors have to hold on through AP exams in May, and then somehow maintain interest in their classes through finals in June. For the underclassmen, “senioritis” is more intangible, but no less present. By mid-May, we all have summer plans and a new season of Parks and Recreation to think about. Should we fight it or just succumb?

Most of us decide to maintain focus as best we can, and many of the faculty at PHS have developed their own strategies for dealing with senioritis, whether it is affecting freshmen or seniors. Replacing lectures with group work and tests with “fun new projects” can only do so much, however. Once a student has a taste of how little work needs to be done to just get by, homework starts to seem unnecessary.

History teacher Chip Casto observes a family effect. “I have historically seen an influence on siblings, where the older brother or senior gets a little senioritis and [the] younger sibling works harder and stronger.”

It is important to keep things “interesting and fresh,” said English teacher Aaron Thayer. “When things are not working, you cannot force students to work, you have to switch and do something else.” He noted that senioritis is not just for seniors: “I notice underclassmen start to flag as well. I don’t know if that’s because of senioritis, or they have their own version of senioritis.”

Sofia Blackwelder ’16 confirmed this when she said, “I feel like everyone has their own form of senioritis as the year goes on and as it gets closer to the end of the year because everyone kind of starts to slack off as they feel the year coming to a close.”

In the end, whether we’ve just given up entirely or we’re still motivated by the sweet feeling of a strong transcript, the decision to succumb to senioritis or fight it is ours.