Senioritis: An insidious germ cloud that roams a myriad of high schools, lurking in the shadows between the cafeteria and the decrepit boiler room…seeking to devour wayward 12th graders! Cuidado! It’s the dilemma that parents and high school seniors face as they navigate through their senior year.
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“Not many teens realize that the minute they set foot into high school, they are sending a message to their teachers and peers…a message that rings loud and clear to others,” says Belinda Soto, a Fairfield County high school English teacher. “I’ve witnessed the demise of an ambitious 12th grader, enthusiastic about the A.P. English class lectures and readings in September. But she made a complete 180-degree turn and by March of the following year, unfortunately, she wasn’t prepared for the A.P. exam in the spring.”
Seniors respond to ‘Senioritis’ “I’m expected to lay-back and relax; it’s my last year. Seniors shouldn’t be piled up with work.” – Jasmin “I actually got ‘Sophomoritis,’ I can’t afford to get off track. I need to strengthen my GPA this year. I’m hoping to get a 3.1.” – Nate “I didn’t really get involved with people, but since last year, I’ve gotten closer and since I won’t see them after graduation, I want to have a social life, rather than doing work all of the time,” – Christian “I think ‘Senioritis’ depends on how well you did during your earlier high school years. If you worked hard as a sophomore or junior than you’re probably going to get it during the 12th grade. And since I’m growing up, I want more freedom and responsibility.” – Andrés
A clinical perspective on ‘Senioritis’ Nicholas Strouse, Director at Westport Family Counseling in Connecticut, says that while it is not an official American Psychiatric Association diagnosis, “Senioritis” is actually a real condition that many high school seniors go through. “They become inattentive, unmotivated, and indifferent about anything that matters to adults,” says Strouse. “However, it is not because they have caught a virus or because they have changed their character. The reality is that 17 and 18 year olds are in one of the most intense parts of a life cycle called, “individuation.” He explains that while individuation starts when we’re kids, “senioritis” is the peak of the transition from childhood to adulthood. “Leaving childhood behind, and taking on the responsibilities of the world is a pretty scary idea, when it first hits high schoolers,” Strouse adds. “Who wouldn’t drag their feet, look down, and avoid anything that could lead to more responsibility (like doing homework and graduating)?”
Advice from the pros We spoke to high school teachers and counselors, who offer these reminders and advice to seniors who may succomb to the Senioritis germ: