By Cara Chenoweth
January is the time of senioritis, baggy sweatpants and wearing Adidas slides without socks. It’s seniors second to last finals, but it still feels like the first in all ways. Except instead of being a nervous freshman, now you’re an exhausted, downtrodden senior. Just senioritis right? Google defines senioritis as “A supposed affliction of students in their final year of high school or college, characterized by a decline in motivation or performance”. It happens to most seniors, therefore it is accepted as the norm. What’s worrying, as someone who has spent a lot of time in therapy and recognizing my own symptoms, is that this so-called senioritis sounds a lot like depression.
Equally as worrying, most students are aware of this. When the education system and the health system sucks so much, it almost makes it easier to blame it on some made up disease. Every day I hear some variation of “I’d rather die than be at school” followed by a chorus of “Me too”. Is this not concerning to anybody else? Does the mental health of students not matter as long as you’re getting your precious seat time fulfilled?
Half of the classes in this school are 60% sitting around. Often I leave a class without feeling as if I learned anything. It’s hard not to daydream about what you would be doing instead at home. Some turn that dream into reality. They go home. They sleep.
“I think senioritis is a mix of just pure exhaustion and eagerness to leave. We’ve spent 4 years in this building going to classes we aren’t necessarily excited about or passionate and now we get to move on and kind of live a more independent life and that’s super exciting. But it can make it hard to feel motivated,” senior Claire Arnold said on the topic of senioritis. On top of grueling schedules, we also are expected to maintain a cheery energy at all times. Arnold continued by saying, “I get called lazy at home sometimes when I don’t do chores or feel like doing anything productive which is frustrating, when I spend 5 days a week working hard and getting things done as well as going to a job and then I’m still expected to come home and have a ton of energy. It’s something lots of teenagers in high school experience I think and it’s frustrating to hear our generation be called lazy when all of our energy is just expected to be put into school and work.” Studies have proven that customer service (faking a positive attitude) takes a huge emotional toll on the brain. Why should we be expected to hold this up in our own homes?
This culture of accepting literal children’s depressive episodes as the norm is alarming and needs to change. It’s not just how it is, it’s actually impacting our learning and drive to succeed.
Is senioritis real or is it just cleverly disguised as depression? (Photo courtesy of Inklingnews).