Solutions for a senior quandary

by By Jessica

Students afflicted with the dreaded ‘motivation deficit syndrome,’ also known as senioritis, often forget that there’s more to school than procrastination.
I have always tried hard not to be apathetic, but lately I just don’t care. I’m definitely not one to quote Alanis, but isn’t that ironic? What we’re talking about here is laziness. We all feel this way sometime but never more so than the summer before senior year.
I have felt the tinges of senioritis developing during spring semester, blooming into the flower of apathy that I have now come to represent. I’m not proud of it, but my defense is that I am now a senior and afflicted with the legitimate medical condition known as senioritis.
In high school, seniors were respected and looked at with admiration. We ruled the campus — and as pathetic as that may sound — we all know it’s true. High schools are like independent little societies, complete with caste systems and governing bodies. But even if they were losers or freaks, seniors were untouchable because of their status.
But in college the whole becoming-a-senior thing doesn’t really work the same way. For example, meeting someone and stating, “Yeah, I’m a senior,” may afford the response “Wow, that’s really great; I’m getting my doctorate in industrial systems engineering.” OK, fine. But one thing that remains constant is senioritis.
That feeling of excitement, nervousness and laziness that takes over the minds and bodies of every senior and causes us to slack like we’ve never slacked before. Becoming a senior means much more than graduating. New and creative ways to procrastinate must be found, beside, of course, the staple e-mail checking and room cleaning. Jerry Springer becomes an acceptable form of entertainment. And a well-balanced meal is considered to be anything that can be purchased for under $3 at Taco Bell.
Seniors actually sit through a Spice Girls video just because the remote is nowhere to be found.
Graduate school is contemplated merely as an alternative to finding a “real job.” Most seniors reach the age of 21 around this time and are granted access to entirely new entertainment possibilities. You know what I mean.
My developing senioritis has caused me to enroll in such fine examples of academia as Deepwater Cruising and Theater Games. I won’t even bring up the physical education classes, but they can be quite helpful if an extra unit is needed here or there. Legitimate topics of conversation among seniors can range from IBM’s movement on the stock market to the latest episode of World’s Scariest Police Shoot-outs.
Senior year becomes a time to reflect on all the joy and grief university life brought upon us during the past few years. More importantly, we realize how much money is owed in student loans — a frightening thought. Living in a dorm, writing comp papers and going to fraternity parties all seem ancient and barbaric. If you are a senior who continues to participate in any of these activities, seek help immediately.
So, for any seniors out there looking for advice on how to cure senioritis — there really is no cure. There are ways to cope, however. Do something. Anything.
Don’t waste time. This can be as simple as waking up before noon and taking a shower. Volunteering time to a community service program or writing a letter to a friend from high school are also acceptable ways to be active. Updating a resume and putting together a portfolio are great ways to prepare for the real world.
Explore the Internet, beyond pornography and chat rooms, of course. Cook dinner for that special someone or even a random person. Closet organizing and teaching the cat a new trick are great ways to keep oneself busy.
As long as you are doing something creative and/or productive you won’t lose your motivation completely. This way, if you at least look busy, people won’t think you are a complete waste of flesh. And, as only a last resort, there is that seldom referenced concept of studying. Or, for those who are truly desperate to do something, my closet does need organizing.
And with so many students out there suffering from ‘Motivation Deficit Syndrome’ (senioritis), why isn’t there some sort of support group for seniors with this ailment? I think I will start one — it does, after all, sound like a great waste of time.
However, the true answer can be found in those seniors who have discovered a comfortable balance between work and play. They understand that senior year is their last hurrah before reality sets in. They have learned how to have a good time and stay positive and productive. They have conquered senioritis.
Jessica Neumann’s column originally ran in Wednesday’s edition of The Daily Trojan at the University of Southern California.