Senioritis

Téa Schmid, Co. Editor in chief

Recently, there has been something greatly affecting my life as well as the lives of many of my peers — senioritis.

Even as I sit trying to formulate this very article, I am struggling to find the motivation due to my illness. However, I am determined to inform the public of the truth about senioritis. 

Now, I tend to be a very busy person — as one of the editors in chief of this very paper, a member of the school’s drama board, enrolled in two AP classes, and working as a lifeguard at the YMCA, my schedule tends to be very tight. It’s a lot, but I was able to handle it my junior year while maintaining a 3.9 GPA; why should this year be any different? 

I’ll tell you why. It is because I have worked my ass off for 12 years, working and working towards going to a four-year college to get some degree that will land me in a job behind a desk somewhere working until I die because that’s the way it is now. You don’t work where you will be happy, you work where you will get paid enough to survive. 

Survive, survive, survive. That’s what senior year feels like. It’s not living anymore, it’s just making it til the end of the week, only to work on more homework and then start all over again next week. I used to at least be somewhat excited for school, if not for the classes then to at least see my friends. Now, the thought of going to school in the morning does not only affect me mentally, but physically. I go through my day with a constant ache in my chest, thinking of all my responsibilities. By the time I get a break, I don’t even want to spend time with my friends anymore. All I can think about is staying in a dark room, by myself. 

And the thing is, I am not alone in feeling these ailments. In fact, when asked about how they feel when they think about going to school, the most popular answers were tired, depressed, miserable, anxious, and many reported wanting to cry. Some even went so far as to say they wanted to throw up and experience physical pain. This was mostly said by juniors and seniors, with a few sophomores and freshmen intermixed. In fact, only three seniors and one junior reported being excited to go to school. Any other positive remark was made by an underclassman. 

Now, many teachers are quick to dispute senioritis and call it laziness. This illness is not just being lazy and yes, I will call it an illness. In fact, many of the same symptoms of senioritis have been related to depression. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, feeling constantly tired, unmotivated, and anxious are major symptoms of depression. In fact, it is very common for people undiagnosed with depression to be labeled as lazy. 

According to Child Mind Institute, teens today have more depression and anxiety symptoms and are twice as likely to have to see a mental health professional as teens in the 80s. It is very likely that academic stress could be a big contributor to this rise in mental health disorders. 

As colleges raise their tuition prices, AP classes and other higher-level classes have become much more attractive to students. Doing well on these tests and in these types of classes can boost a student’s chances of college acceptance and scholarships, as well as being able to waive out of certain college courses. 

According to the College Board, over the past ten years, the number of students who took an AP test increased by 65% and the number of students who got above a 3 on at least one AP test increased by 63%. The class of 2018 took a total of 4.22 million AP tests, and about 1.24 million American public high school graduates (about 40% of the class) took at least one AP test.

All this data means is that there are way more students taking higher-level classes in today’s day and age. And they are called higher-level for a reason. These are not easy classes. The workload is much bigger and the content is even more in-depth. Most AP students start our journey in ninth or tenth grade with Pre-AP classes that are also higher-level. That means the last four years of our required school experience can be very tough. By the time we’ve reached our senior year, we’re exhausted. 

Also, in our last two years of school especially, there is so much focus on our post-high school plans. Thinking about and planning the future at seventeen years old is extremely stressful. Plus there are college applications to be filled out, college essays, waiting to hear from dream schools, all while still doing our regularly assigned school work. 

This crazy schedule and workload are why students develop senioritis. It is not us being lazy. It is no longer caring what grade we have because god we’re just so f—ing tired. Nine times out of ten I chose to go to bed instead of finishing my homework because it’s already midnight and I wake up at six am and Mr. Holmes said we need six hours of sleep so screw the English reading. I’m TIRED. Maybe I’ll do it in the morning, maybe I won’t. At this point, I just want to drift into dreamland. 

In his Crouch’s Couch articles, Mr. Crouch likes to always end with the phrase “Please get off my lawn” directed towards the students. So, I will end my article in a similar directed towards teachers: please, get off our backs.

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