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  • David Sipos and Sara Weinrod

Senioritis: Good or Bad?

As seniors enter the last few months before graduation, many come down with a bug known as “senioritis.” Symptoms include getting to school late, skipping class, forgetting to turn in assignments, and an overall marked decrease in motivation. But is this disease as bad as it seems?

Generated by NightCafe Creator in response to the prompt “Penguin sleeps at school desk”

Relax, It's Senior Year

By David Sipos

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education” - Mark Twain

I have received many dire warnings from family, friends, and teachers about senioritis. This so-called affliction is supposedly ruinous for our senior year. A sort of apathy settles in, with little desire or motivation to complete our schoolwork. We’re told this is impermissible, that we must maintain the highest standard of work all the way through June.

But senioritis is not an affliction. It is an opportunity.

For four years, students have been under immense pressure - from ourselves, from parents, from teachers - with the expectation that our lives must revolve around school.

We must commit hours each night to homework, we must have the highest quality work all the time.

This hasn’t been without its costs. Every student has made sacrifices in their attempts to excel academically. We’ve sacrificed time with friends, time to pursue our passions, and healthy sleep schedules.

For ambitious students like those at Walls, these sacrifices are understandable, to a degree. But in these last few months, with seniors’ paths in Fall pretty much set, Senioritis simply proposes that we let up on the sacrifice, even just a little. For some, this means shooting for an A- instead of an A. For others, it means worrying less about missing the occasional deadline.

I don’t suggest that anyone completely disregard academic responsibility. But by carefully and choicefully redistributing some of our effort on academics towards ourselves, we can see meaningful benefits before we graduate in June.

A little less focus can mean fewer late worknights. It can mean fewer lost lunches. It can mean less rushing home to complete work. With all this reclaimed time, we can pursue the opportunities we’ve missed out on for years.

In senior year, I’ve relaxed my commitment to waking up early to have an hour to work before class. Instead, I’ve slept in more, and taken the slower transport option - a calming bike ride through Rock Creek - to school, feeling better mentally and physically. In senior year, I’ve spent fewer weekends hunched over my desk to perfect every assignment. Instead, I’ve spent more time with friends. In senior year, less of my evenings have been consumed by homework. Instead, I’ve taken up an instrument and had more time to read.

I could not have accomplished these things in my earlier high school years. The price of this was, yes, slightly lower quality work. I’ve missed some deadlines. For this, I am “suffering” from senioritis.

Some may decry this view as neglecting my education. But my education is not confined to the hours I sit in a classroom. My education is the books I read, the museums I visit, and the invaluable conversations I have with peers who I will rarely see after gradua-

tion. Is that education worth giving up to fill out a tedious analysis of a Ted Talk? No, it is not. As a victim of senioritis, I believe in education; I don’t believe in sacrificing it for my work.

Don’t Wish Away High School

By Sara Weinrod

“The trouble is, you think you have time.” - Jack Kornfield

When I say senioritis is bad, I’m not talking about slacking off a little bit in school. I’m not talking about staying up a little too late or cutting a couple of classes. And I’m not talking about allowing the security of a college acceptance to give you the freedom to let loose a bit and have fun with your friends in your last semester as a high schooler.

I take issue with senioritis because I see it as a symptom of a deadlier disease — delayed happiness syndrome. Delayed happiness syndrome is the habit of postponing enjoyment of life until after the completion of a daunting task, whether that be an assignment, test, or college application.

This affliction is not to be confused with positive traits like disciplined habits and the ability to delay gratification, both of which are necessary to lead a productive and fulfilling life. Delayed gratification is good, and involves putting aside momentary whims and sacrificing immediate desires in pursuit of a larger, and ultimately more satisfactory, goal.

On the contrary, delayed happiness involves an endless cycle of postponement and is characterized by the inability to enjoy meaningful activities while a task or deadline looms above. For some of us, Walls students in particular, delayed gratification turns into this vicious pattern of deferral.

Over my four years at Walls, I can’t count the number of times I’ve had friends say things like “I’ll go out with my friends once I get an A on so-and-so test” or “Once I’ve finished this essay then I can relax.” I’ve been guilty of such sentiments myself, always waiting for that time when there’s nothing left to do. But before we know it, years have passed and we’ve wished away our adolescence.

If you, like me, tend to think this way, let me give you some hard-earned advice. There will always be tasks left on your to-do list. There will always be another test, another essay, another assignment.

The pursuit of an empty agenda is futile, especially as we transition to the workforce. At school, we over 100 days off, the combined result of summer vacation, winter break, spring break, and numerous other breaks. Jobs in the U.S. have, on average, 11- 20 days of paid vacation, allowing much less time for rest and recuperation

I will readily admit that not all students fall into the trap of “delaying happiness,” nor have a problem with enjoying their lives while working hard. This article is not for you guys — keep doing what you’re doing. But I know that myself, and many peo- ple I know, postponed a lot of their enjoyment of high school un- til senior year, resulting in severe cases of senioritis. If we hadn’t caught a case of delayed happiness syndrome early on in our high school careers, the senioritis bug may not have hit us so hard.

Going forward, the key is to find a balance between plan- ning for the future and living in the moment. Because just like you shouldn’t live your life waiting for the weekend, you shouldn’t spend high school waiting for the second semester of your senior year. But since I’m here, and there’s no going back, I will certainly take David’s words to heart and focus on enjoying the time we have left.

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