Managing the Senioritis Epidemic: How to Motivate for the Last Semester Once and for All

By Dan Teano
Lifestyle Editor

Is the work getting harder or is it getting harder to do the work?

If you’re a senior, you might be dealing with senioritis. Real or not, this disease seems to strike at the most inconvenient times: the day before a midterm, the day of a class presentation, and the day after an online quiz. It seems like when work gets mildly difficult, it becomes tempting for us seniors to push it off and blame our apathy on senioritis.

Quite frankly, I swear I’ve had senioritis since sophomore year. In fact, it’s not uncommon to hear freshman students say they have freshman-itis, which, of course, isn’t a real disease since they haven’t had to think about drafting a 40 plus page independent research assignment.

So, what is senioritis? I searched the word in Urban Dictionary and got this definition: “probably the reason you are here right now.”

Have you ever tried preparing for an exam or completing an article assignment for the student newspaper and somehow ended up scrolling through Urban Dictionary? Have you ever searched your name on Urban Dictionary? Wait, where was this going?

What’s interesting about Urban Dictionary’s definition isn’t only that it’s an accurate one, but it also highlights the irony of senioritis. Most of us associate senioritis with despondence towards our academics. We attribute the word to the laziness that overcomes us when we’re in bed contemplating whether or not we should go to our 9:30a.m. class. Contrary to what you might think, senioritis isn’t about preferring to do nothing; instead, it’s defined by one choosing to engage in something more or less productive over a school assignment.

So long as we’re alive, we’re always doing something—whether it’s binge watching Netflix, or going to Team Tuesday at the Blue Bird. When we say “I don’t want to study,” we really mean “This exam isn’t worth my time compared to other things I have to cross off my checklist.” For us seniors, we have to worry about job or internship applications, doing excellent work in our extracurricular activities, and figuring out where we want to live next fall. Consequently, when we look at the bigger picture, the importance of a midterm for a distribution class seems a bit trivial.

Yet, if senioritis stems from a subconscious prioritizing of tasks, is it ever possible to be cured from it? After all, if we figured out the future—job, apartment, location—wouldn’t that make us more apathetic to the work we’re doing here?

Ironically, the best way to cure senioritis is to just do the work we’re trying to avoid. If we’re truly concerned about what’s to come, then we should focus on doing the best we can right now to give us the most hope for a successful future. The future won’t work itself out, but if we’re presently striving and not slacking, then it just might.

From one perspective, it’s so much easier to watch “Rick and Morty” than complete an organic chemistry problem set; from another, it’s easier to do the assignment now than to make up for it in the future by retaking the class.

Curing senioritis is less about ridding yourself of responsibilities than it is reducing the amount of time and energy wasted in complaining. Yes, the future can be daunting, but it becomes less scary when the present moment is all taken care of.

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