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Tis the season … for senioritis

Like most students, it was time for me to grab my books and head to my first class of the semester Monday. Two more classes followed and at the end of my long day, my mother called and asked me in pure elementary school fashion, “So, what did you learn today?” My mouth opened, but all that came out was “Huh?” My mind drew a blank. Don’t get me wrong – I love my classes this semester, but it seemed like the whole day was just a blur. Instead of information coming out of my professors’ mouths, they sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher.

It appears that I might be suffering from symptoms of ‘senioritis’.

Senioritis is generally associated with high school seniors. In a USA Today story, senioritis is defined as “that ‘been there, done that'” feeling that hits seniors during their final semester of high school.” According to the story, senioritis is becoming a problem for colleges because high school seniors are using their last year to relax, which causes many to be unprepared for college life. However, senioritis in college students is different.

Senioritis in college tends to be the opposite of what it is in high school. In college, the senior year can be the hardest one. It seems as though students have mounds of papers to write and several tests to take. There are just not enough hours in the day. Add part-time jobs, job hunting and interviews into the mix and the stress can feel like it weighs a ton. It’s crunch time, and unfortunately, some student buckle under the pressure. Instead of students finishing college in the expected four years, many students stay five or six years just for an undergraduate degree. This can all depend on the type of senioritis a student contracts.

There is also the “party hard” senioritis. Some students decide to blow off stress with excessive partying. Grades start to slip and class attendance takes a severe nosedive. This is probably the most detrimental type of senioritis. Not only can it extend a student’s stay in college, but it can also cause him or her to go on academic probation, or even worse, drop out in the last year.

Then there is the “stressed” senioritis. Thoughts of future employment, loan payments, apartment hunting, graduate school – basically “entering the real world” – can suck every ounce of fun out of the last year of college. I can relate to this because I am terribly afraid I won’t find work after school, and I have loans I will be paying back for the next 10 years or so.

Finally, there is the “I am so sick of … senioritis, which is like the party-hard senioritis sans partying. Apathy takes hold of the student and they begin not to care about school anymore. Homework goes undone, class lectures become more than unbearable, and all the student can think about is how they’re going to get through the next day, let alone the rest of the semester. The degree is so close that students can taste it, but lack of motivation causes them to take longer to reach graduation. The Charlie Brown teacher scenario I suffered falls under this category.

Senioritis sounds terminal, but in fact, the symptoms can be curbed before they set in. Most students eventually realize they have to apply themselves to graduate. Parents can also be instrumental in giving their child that extra push by threatening to cut them off financially. For me, it’s all about maintaining my GPA and getting out of school as fast as possible so I don’t have to take out any more loans. What jerks a student out of the senior slump varies, but once a student graduates, senioritis magically disappears and sufferers usually go on to live healthy and successful lives.

Shemir Wiles is a senior majoring in mass communications.