Senioritis: The Causes, the Symptoms and the Cure

Senioritis infects Class of 2019

By: Akievia McFarland | Contributing Writer

As I write this article, I can feel it. It’s creeping through my fingers, moving up my arms, and trickling down my back. It’s tense and agonizing. It’s whispering for me to say, “Oh, forget this,” and to just stop typing where I am now.

What’s ailing me is a case of matter over mind. I am talking about Senioritis.

Senioritis can be defined as a disease that bombards high school- and college-level seniors with feelings of educational fatigue.

This decline of motivation and effort to finish out the school year on a high note is typically associated with high school seniors. However, most upper-level college students, like myself, feel its weight.

“I would love to go back and relive my last semester of 12th grade,” says junior, Keon Arnold. “I’m not even a senior yet and I understand Senioritis a lot more. I’m ready to graduate.”

College seniors and some juniors are definitely familiar with Senioritis, and not because of their high school experiences. Exclusively using the term in reference to high school seniors reveals a lack of understanding of how strongly college students also grapple with the condition.

A lot of people tend to look back on their high school careers and determine that it was super easy, no matter how much they complained in the past. Once a student completes high school, goes to college, and finally becomes a senior, he or she has added at least four to five more years to their educational resume. Those few extra years make a huge difference and can be quite trying.

“Sometimes I don’t want to go class,” says senior Keyona Corbett. “Sometimes I want to give up because school can be stressful. I just have to remind myself that I want my degree way more.”

Senioritis can cause feelings of anxiety for college seniors because of the massive work load they balance. Often, college seniors work a job and raise families while attending school.

This disease makes students vividly see their finish line, and makes them run towards it. This feeling is tiring, and annoying for upper-level college students, but this negative energy can be used for good. Just like fear is meant to protect us, perhaps Senioritis is meant to give students the motivation they need to end their semesters.

“I have love-hate feelings toward Senioritis,” says senior, Charles Conner. “It reminds me that I’m almost finished with school but it also puts a lot of pressure on me to get prepared for life after school altogether.”

Senioritis can be a trap when they are almost finished with their goals, but don’t give in.  Turn that sluggishness into energy and…ZZZzzz.

What was I saying?

The symptoms: Not to be sneezed at

By: Tara Principe | Contributing Writer

Similar to the common cold, a disease is taking college students out across the country in massive waves.

Those who fall victim to the disease have yet to find effective treatments or preventative measures against it. One victim of the disease at South Alabama defines it, in her own words, as “the time in high school or college when you get close enough to the end that the drive for your degree is lessened by your drive to get out of here.”

Effects of the dreaded syndrome commonly include a decrease in motivation, heightened procrastination, and increased absenteeism in class. This disease is called Senioritis, and it is not to be taken lightly.

Though senioritis is far from life-threatening, its presence can be seen throughout higher-level college students. Alex Saucier, a senior in the Education Program at South, says she can feel her own senioritis growing as she gets closer to graduation. This lack of drive, she explains, is not because she doesn’t care, but because her schoolwork is not exactly representative of what she knows she will be doing after graduation.

“In the Education Program, we have to write very extensive lesson plans for student teaching. I know that this is required so that our instructors can tell we know what we’re doing, but every teacher I have worked with has told me I will never have to do them this extensively again, which makes it hard to put in the effort,” says Saucier.

When seniors get a taste of the working world, many of them feel that their schoolwork’s value is diminished when compared to hands-on experience in the work environment. Graduating students commonly have the opportunity to work internships during their final semesters, which has them constantly comparing their schoolwork to what they will actually be doing after they complete their degree program.

Many seniors agree that they have a different attitude towards schoolwork in their final semesters. A Mitchell College of Business student, Emily Viglione, has had a nearly full-time internship with the Mobile branch of Austal USA, which has shown her just how different life after college will be.

“You don’t use GPA’s, you use experience. So in my job now, I have realized that making an A doesn’t always transfer over into having the necessary real-world experiences for a job,” says Viglione.

Brandon Lawson, who graduated from the University of South Alabama in 2017, realized when looking back that there signs pointing towards his senioritis that were quite clear. He felt that preparing for his future in graduate school was more pressing than the elective courses he had left to take, and so his motivation in those classes slipped. What kept him going, however, was that goal of attending law school and eventually becoming an attorney.  

“Have something to work for,” he advised “You don’t have to be absolute in these goals at this point in your life… but stay motivated and always be doing something to better yourself and prepare you.”

Lawson believes that senioritis is a natural part of the transition between college life and what is yet to come.

A diagnosis in search of a cure

By: Jaleesa Anderson | Contributing Writer

Imagine this: It’s your senior year of college and you’re still taking 8 a.m. classes. You’ve got assignments and paper deadlines approaching but the problem is, you can’t find the desire or motivation to do anymore assigned work. Next thing you know, you’re pulling an all-nighter trying to make up for the procrastination and fight the urge to fall asleep.

These types of feelings are normal for most college seniors in their final year. If you’ve found yourself feeling sluggish and tired in that final semester, no need to worry. You’ve just caught the -itis, senioritis that is.

Senioritis is the lack of a college student’s drive to finish the duration of their senior year. When it comes to your senior year in college, it can bring excitement and nervousness. Due to experiences from fellow college students, it is safe to say there are several causes of senioritis, but the side effects of this plague can be stressful as well.

After spending years at a university, senior students can become anxious towards the end but when there’s still a lot of work to complete, it can become nerve-wrecking.

Though senioritis can be caused by many things, one of the main contributors is stress. For college seniors, stress can come from anywhere and add more pressure to students’ lifestyles, making them exceedingly more ready to graduate. It seems like any major changes during the senior year can put students on edge. Sometimes, it can create some major problems if it’s not managed properly.

“I’m working a full-time job and I’m in college studying to get my master’s degree. The word ‘stress’ is definitely in my vocabulary now,” says college student Tierra Harrison.

Another tiny issue is what to do after graduation. During their last year, students are so occupied with trying to finish school, they get burned out before being able to search for a career. That leaves students asking the question, “What’s next?” Most college seniors don’t seem to know the answer.

The decisions can range from attending graduate school or going into your working field. In due time, most people will be able to figure out how to use their degree. A degree is something that requires hard work and dedication, so the reward should be your dream job. The first step to getting there is by overcoming senioritis, finishing strong, and getting the degree.

When a student is in this frantic state of senioritis, one must make sure they have everything well-organized. By doing that, you must make sure that assignments are turned in before the deadline, and a planner will be useful.

Besides the mounting anxiety and forgetful moments from senioritis, there are some great results that come from going through it. In a funny way, by agonizing over finishing the semester together, you make great relationships with classmates and professors.

“Always network, says recent graduate, Christopher Martin. “I have many friends from college that I have kept in touch with”

Just remember: As of that last entry in the planner, final exams ending May 2, we will all be Senioritis survivors.

Contributing editors Kristen Echols and Akievia McFarland edited this report.