Senioritis Strikes!

By Amanda Bertsch

Four years ago today, Denobis published an article ( on a phenomenon known as senioritis. The tongue-and-cheek name describes a serious problem: as graduation grows ever closer, many seniors struggle to find motivation for schoolwork and may see their grades drop as a result. On this anniversary, Denobis interviewed several current and past seniors about their experience with the disease.

Senior Mathew Lanning describes senioritis as “a perpetual laziness towards classes,” while Kate DuBroy explains it more generally as “feeling like high school […] will never end.” “Nothing phases you,” adds Juliette Puplava.

Although senioritis is almost universally regarded as a bad thing, senior Mathew Lanning pointed out that it was “somewhat justified because I’ve already built the reputation I need for the most part.” He quickly added that he didn’t like senioritis, but it seemed to be a fact of life.

The problem’s understandable. By spring of senior year, distance to graduation is measured in weeks and most seniors already know where they’re going to college. That English paper or math homework seems trivial compared to the bright future ahead. However, effects of senioritis can be long-lasting. Some colleges will withdraw offers of admission if a student’s grades drastically drop, and failing classes can lead to delayed graduation. Sudden GPA drops can affect class rank, graduation honors, and even scholarships.

Senioritis is far from an unusual problem. In one survey, 70.4% of high school freshman believed that their academic effort would not decrease in the second semester of senior year; an underwhelming 30.4% of seniors said the same. Factor in the people who were overoptimistic about their motivation, and senioritis could be afflicting 80% or more of the seniors nationwide.

Senioritis’s effects may reach even further than that. Some seniors claim that their senioritis began before they started senior year; several pointed to the second semester of junior year as a more accurate start time for the affliction. This isn’t universally agreed upon, however. Although many underclassmen claim to experience senioritis, Juliette Puplava explains a true case of senioritis as when “sleep deprivation from all four years catches up one day.”

Many seniors worry that senioritis will linger into college. We caught up with two Tri-City Prep alums to see how they felt senioritis had affected their freshman year of college.

Alum Natalie Krafft explained that her senioritis lasted through the summer, leading her to dread going back to school. “Once school started I got over it, but once midterms hit I was just done. Senioritis returned,” she said.

Alex DuBroy’s experience was different. He also said his senioritis lingered, but “college really forces you to get your act together.” He was simply too busy to tolerate senioritis and also do well in his classes.

As for minimizing senioritis?

Ms. Mezeske didn’t endorse senioritis, but cautioned seniors about working too hard: “I walked by my high school several times this week and waxed nostalgic about good times I missed… therefore, my advice is to slow down, make every day count, and enjoy every moment, as you will never be able to get them back.” As always, the goal is to work smarter, not harder.

TCP alum Natalie Krafft advises to “stay on top of things from the beginning and stay like that until the end. Resist the call to skip classes and if you need help ASK.”

Current senior Mathew Lanning told Denobis that “all you can do is try to build a work ethic based on incentives that you can set.”

English teacher Miss Kauffman had a longer message:

“My advice for students is to stay focused not only for the sake of high school (which is almost over) but for the sake of your future. Learn this lesson now: the real world doesn’t let you blow off something because you’re ‘almost done’ with it. ‘Sorry, boss, that report isn’t on your desk because I was tired nearly finishing it.’ Or, ‘sorry, fiancée, I didn’t walk down the aisle because I was tired from nearly finishing the wedding planning. Or, ‘sorry, IRS, I didn’t finish my taxes in time because I got too tired nearly finishing them.’ The consequences in the real world will follow you. They will. And this is especially important for those students in dual enrollment: if you blow off a college class, your crappy grade will be on your permanent college record, something that teachers and employers will be looking at for the rest of your life.”

“Good things come to those who show up and do their work. Period.”

That’s advice everyone can take.