The senioritis virus

The seasonal illness targets vulnerable students, spreading quickly and infecting many.

by Courtney Johnson

Late one Tuesday afternoon, a girl sits in her apartment, watching old reruns of “How I Met Your Mother” on her TV. As she searches for any form of motivation to study for her upcoming midterms, she suddenly realizes that she has caught it, the infection that is known to spread like wildfire among college seniors spring semester. The flu and allergies are not to blame here — senioritis is.

This severely contagious disease is described to come with very specific side effects — laziness, dismissive attitudes toward school and repeated absences to name a few. And while many other seniors have days when taking a mental health day might sound like a great way to recuperate from these crippling symptoms, fostering these bad habits only makes things worse.

The last semester of a college student’s career is the last chance for students to be continuously lazy and carefree and have it still be socially acceptable. This fact alone is what causes many of my colleagues to hit the snooze button through all hours of the day instead of going to class. Avoidance? Maybe. Denial? Perhaps. But after four years of school, classes are likely less interesting than they were as a freshman, or maybe all of the pressure of cramming for exams has finally brought seniors to a breaking point.

As a senior myself, I am more relaxed about getting schoolwork completed. Part of this is because my classes are easier, as I have completed all of my core classes already. But there are days when school does not take the priority that it should. My rationale for this is that I have more obligations than I did when I was a freshman in college — schoolwork was quite literally my only responsibility then. Now, I have the impending pressure of what I am going to do after graduation and with the rest of my life. This uncertainty about the future plays a major role in putting off schoolwork and working toward extra things instead.

On the other hand, some seniors already have their post-graduation plans set in stone — how wonderful for them. In most cases, these students have had internships that have led into promising full-time jobs or they plan to travel abroad and see the world. These students are most vulnerable to catching senioritis first, exposing and spreading it to other students who are still trying to plan their futures.

Once contracted, figuring out how to remedy senioritis is like trying to find a cure for the common cold — there isn’t one, and no matter how hard you try, it keeps coming back. Because of that, students have to keep finding different ways to successfully continue on with the semester. Small rewards can be motivators: Last week, I rewarded myself with coffee and a muffin for going to a class. The coffee shop was only a block away from my class, so I simply had no choice but to go.

As the novelty of college life fades, students must do whatever it takes to stay motivated. Looking at the positives of graduating and the afterlife of college is one way to alter the mindset of doubtful seniors. While the college lifestyle fades, the opportunities for a fresh, clean slate becomes brighter. The opportunities that I will have with a four-year Bachelor of Arts degree opens up a lot of doors — I’ll have the ability to travel and work toward landing my dream job. But in order to successfully attain this, seniors must work hard at holding themselves accountable for the results at the end of the semester.

Senioritis is incredibly noxious this time of year. Falling victim to repeated procrastination and reruns of popular TV shows are some of the first signs of this collegiate disease. Don’t give in to the syndrome, and don’t let it take you over. It’s a hard condition to fight, but the rewards are immense.