Seniors in English teacher Nicole Burriss class

Seniors in English teacher Nicole Burris’s class


May 5, 2023

Around this time each school year, high school seniors are plagued with the contagious affliction that haunts every aspect of their lives, both inside of school and out, known as senioritis. 

The new virus at PA: Senioritis

In a recent survey conducted by The Page on student senioritis, 59 percent of seniors are currently dealing with senioritis, 18 percent are not, and 22 percent are unsure. Out of 440 seniors, 64 responded to the survey, leaving a margin of error of 11 percent.

Based on the results of the survey, most seniors would define senioritis as feeling burned out with school, experiencing laziness or procrastination, and a lack of motivation or carelessness toward school as the end of the academic year slowly comes to a close. 

According to senior Ryan Campbell, senioritis is “a very common thing that most seniors will feel as they reach the end of the school year. I think it is a good thing because it shows that people are ready to move on from high school, but some negatives can be the lack of work or effort people put into the last stretch of the school year. Sometimes students can end their high school experience on a low note.”

The completed college application process isn’t helping with senioritis either. According to senior Chloe Collins, “I feel that [senioritis] is a real thing and it can be hard to overcome when you know you’ve already gotten accepted and that you feel like you’ve already succeeded.”

One student, who chose to remain anonymous, believes senioritis is “a real thing and that everyone needs inspiration, but we all have to find our own inspiration in order to graduate.”

Though the majority of seniors are dealing with some form of senioritis, some are unfazed, as one anonymous student believes “it is a problem” and “people just use it as an excuse.” Another student added on, saying “just make sure you stay ahead in the game or you’re going to fall behind and start failing.” Another student added on to this, saying that “people need to just lock in these last few weeks and continue to work hard.”

According to the survey, while some students are not dealing with the stress of senioritis, 15 percent are dealing with unbearable stress, and another 28 percent are right on the line. 

Though there seems to be more negatives than positives, there are ways to overcome senioritis. According to senior Andrew Miller, one cure would involve seniors having “some extracurricular or hobby to keep them on track. They could also reward themselves for doing their work.” Other students say seniors “should live in the moment,” keep “a positive attitude,” and set “small goals to reach before the year.” 

For the most part, senioritis typically has the greatest effect on 12th-grade students. However, that does not exclude teachers from this common affliction. English teacher Nicole Burris, who teaches 12th-grade, shared her perspective on senioritis  and how it’s affected her as a teacher. 

“I think it’s inevitable. I remember experiencing it when I was a senior,” said Burris. “You see that the end is in sight and you just want to get there and you just start to feel impatient. I think that it’s something that is manageable as long as students are aware that they’re going through it and realize that they still have responsibilities that they need to take care of in order to graduate.”

Burris also mentioned the effects of senioritis are evident with the school calendar year, noting that the transition from the A-day/B-day schedule to the current 4×4 class schedule makes a huge difference in how seniors are struggling with senioritis. 

“You have so much from the beginning of the year to fall back on if you do decide ‘I’m not doing anything else’ you still have that work you did earlier in the year, but in a 4×4 environment, you don’t have that,” said Burris. “You have maybe eight weeks of class where you were really hustling and now you’re at the end and you’re not even halfway through.”

Burris continued, explaining how senioritis is “frustrating” to her as a teacher who teaches English 12. “I think 4×4 has exacerbated the issue because second term seniors are experiencing senioritis towards the beginning of the term, so they don’t have the padding from the first semester to allow them to sort of coast at the end.” Burris added, “They still need to hustle at the end, and they don’t want to, understandably, because the weather is getting warmer. They see graduation is so close, they’re picking up their caps and gowns, and it’s like, ‘we still have half of a term to go’, so that is where my frustration is.”

To make matters worse, Burris explained that a big factor in senioritis is the “dis-interest in school and lack of ability to focus” for seniors and says the hardest part is “scrambling” at the end of the school year.

“Students make the decision to not prioritize their schoolwork,” Burris explained. “If students make the decision to not prioritize their schoolwork, it is frustrating to then have to or to be expected to make accommodations for them to go back and correct that decision at the last minute when we have other classes and grades are due.”

Given that this isn’t the first time senioritis has plagued PA seniors, Burris says senioritis is “predictable” during this time each year and has accepted that “it is a part of life.” She has also found ways to manage senioritis for both herself and the students.

“I just try to remind myself that the decision to kind of slack off at the end of the school year is not an indictment on you as a person. It’s just the way that it is and we just get through it.” She added, “I just try to maintain a good sense of humor, teach what I can, mentor when I can, and remind everybody that we all have the same goal in mind, and that’s to see each other on graduation day.”

With this in mind, Burris also offers a few words of motivation to the graduating class of 2023 as a boost of motivation. “Allow yourself to feel the excitement but also remember that there are a lot of adults in your life, like your parents and your teachers, who want to help you succeed,” said Burris. “If you find yourself falling behind, ask for help and remember that even though you are excited about graduation, you do still have responsibilities.”

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Senioritis: Is there a cure?

Around this time each school year, high school seniors are plagued with the contagious affliction that haunts every aspect of their lives, both inside of school and out, known as senioritis. 

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, senioritis is defined as “an ebbing of motivation and effort by school seniors as evidenced by tardiness, absences, and lower grades.” In other words, seniors are in a place of burnout that includes a lack of motivation, and feelings of exhaustion and stress from increased pressure and high expectations.

In the season of senioritis, there are more negative influences on seniors than there are positive benefits. Grades start dropping, seniors start skipping school or showing up late, and the overall stress of balancing school, work, and personal lives leaves students searching for answers to this issue that is temporary and will only be permanent if allowed it to be. 

Yet despite these burdens, there are a number of ways that seniors can reduce senioritis. This includes maintaining a clean and organized workload, keeping up with important dates and events, finding hobbies and activities to relieve stress, and ultimately enjoying senior year in a responsible, positive manner. If needed, taking mental health breaks will keep you moving forward in the long run. 

Here’s a reality check for the seniors: Graduation is less than six weeks away. That’s right. Everything you’ve worked for and stressed yourself out with will finally be acknowledged in a three hour ceremony that ends with a piece of paper in your hands. Sounds exciting, right? 

Not really. It might give you five seconds of fame and mark your ‘I made it’ moment, but in the end, would it really be worth all the stress, anticipation, and anxiety that consistently looms over our heads? 

I would hope so, but life doesn’t get easier from here. In fact, there will be times that life will test you as an adult that feels almost impossible to overcome. Whatever life has in store- attending college, getting a full time job, raising your own family- don’t expect it to be easy. However, maybe I could give all the seniors some motivation, even if you don’t want to be motivated or feel that a little motivation won’t help. 

Imagine yourself standing right in front of the finish line of a marathon. You’re almost at the end, so why give up now? Maybe you have people in your life who never thought you’d make it, so why not prove them wrong? Show them that you CAN do it and CAN achieve success. 

Remember to celebrate the smaller victories along the way and be appreciative of the setbacks you may encounter, because no one has reached success without facing difficult trials and being pushed a few steps back. This doesn’t necessarily mean hitting rock bottom, but it can definitely change you for the better. 

For now, senioritis is spreading within the halls of PA, looking for its next victim from the Class of 2023. 


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