Senioritis: Fact or Fiction?


Picture by Sophie Mbela

By Sophie Mbela and Jennifer Quijada

Throughout their high school career, there are many times when students will feel like doing nothing. This includes completely ignoring their homework and opting to binge watch an entire series on a school night instead. However, there is a scarier fate than merely procrastinating. It is called Senioritis. Senioritis is the term used to describe any senior that has stopped trying when it comes to academics, sports, or anything school related. However, this “illness” is highly debatable among the academic community. Is Senioritis a real phenomenon or is it a fantasy perpetuated by its popularity among students and teachers?

Senioritis does not automatically affect all students on the first day of 12th grade, but it takes effect as more of a gradual process. This “infection” makes students slowly lose their ability to care about their work and choose to do things that will make them fall behind.

Senioritis affects so many students mainly because seniors tend to have this false idea that they’re already finished with high school when there are technically still a couple more months left. Some may think that these types of seniors are impatient teenagers who abhor high school or are simply not motivated to handle the coursework; however, this is not always the case.

Mr. Herman, an AP Calculus teacher, always says that “the hardest thing is to be a senior during the second semester.” The second semester is difficult for so many seniors because it’s the last one. They can finally see the home stretch and are ready to celebrate even though there are technically three and a half months left until graduation. Furthermore, planning for the future definitely contributes to feelings of Senioritis.

At this stage, many seniors have already applied to many universities and scholarships. There are also some that have already decided to join the military right after school and there are others who have already found a job. With so much responsibility and planning, seniors tend to forget that they are still in high school because they are so focused on their future. Many have the mentality that their future is more important than finishing the 50-page note assignment or completing last night’s AP FRQ problem.

Furthermore, many students are motivated to do well in school because they want to be successful. They dream of attending a great university that will lead them to many great job opportunities. However, once they fulfill this goal, they lose the motivation to keep trying. For example, Eston Euceda is a senior that has already been accepted to a university and knows that he will be joining the Navy. Asked if he had Senioritis, he replied “absolutely” because he already knows what he is going to do and that none of this classwork applies to his future career. Euceda is not the only one. Seniors that have already been accepted to universities or already know what they are going to do in life seem to be hit with Senioritis the hardest.

On the contrary, Quartz Hill’s counselor, Debbie Weilbacher, has a different view of Senioritis.  “I don’t believe in Senioritis,” Mrs. Weilbacher states. “It’s more of a crutch than an excuse. … Senioritis ends in -itis… the suffix of -itis suggests inflammation or relating to a disease, so I don’t buy it. Senioritis is not a real malady.” Mrs. Weilbacher states that if Senioritis was real, this disease wouldn’t have a cure and wouldn’t be controllable. However, the major symptom is simply procrastination, which is easily controllable. Poor attendance and lack of motivation are also symptoms of Senioritis that can be controlled.

Mrs. Weilbacher explained, “It is not to say that a handful of seniors in the latter part of the school year don’t experience some of the symptoms we have mentioned—but, I don’t believe we should put a label on it as if it is a real malady.”  While she does believe in the symptoms, she doesn’t think it should be called “senioritis” due to the fact that it is not related to any disease at all.

“It’s a catchy term that kids like to use just to express their feelings of anxiety, stress, and fear,” Mrs. Weilbacher says. Many kids will experience many feelings because they can’t believe that they are going to college. Because the kids don’t know how to act knowing their high school is over, they would use the name “Senioritis” to express the way they feel.

So, is there a solution to this “disease?” According to many students, graduating from high school will cure this “infectious” disease, but for Mrs. Weilbacher, “erasing the word from everyone’s mind” would cure this belief.  Mrs. Weilbacher is the only counselor who doesn’t believe in Senioritis, and she tries to understand why students believe it exists. She stated, “I certainly won’t judge any students who say they believe they have ‘Senioritis’… but I would like to talk to them.”

As the second semester comes to an end, there will be many more students feeling the symptoms of Senioritis or it will just get worse for students that have already caught this scary bug. Whether you believe in it or not, we hope that all the seniors can push through and use their last remaining grit to finish high school with a bang.