There’s nothing worse than having to bail on your friends to go finish your homework. It’s like being back in fifth grade again, but instead of your friends running off to climb a tree or dance around to the one song they know by the Eurythmics, they want you to go grab some drinks at the bar.
“I can’t tonight, guys,” you tell them. “I have to write a paper.”
“How long could that take?” one of them snickers. “Let’s get some drinks, and you can finish it later.”
The bottom line is, you were convinced from square one. You only mentioned writing a paper to sound like you cared about your schoolwork – but you don’t. And because your mom isn’t on the porch screaming at you to get inside, you go out for a few too many drinks and don’t get around to that assignment until 20 minutes before class, if at all.
Sound familiar? I hate to break it to you, but it’s one of many signs that all point to the same bittersweet truth – you have senioritis. And there isn’t anything you can do about it.
I’ll go ahead and estimate that a pretty large portion of seniors, super-seniors and possibly some unlucky juniors have, at the least, a mild case of senioritis. Some cases are more severe than others.
On the exterior, it might look like I haven’t yet succumbed to the disease. I go to class. I turn in assignments. I maintain personal hygiene. I even sit through class without dozing off.
In reality, I should be quarantined. I should be the poster girl for the senior slump.
I’ve stopped taking comprehensible notes. Countless hours are spent rereading the clever little phrases on the sides of my cardboard coffee cups. My poor credit card bears the weight of textbooks I have yet to open. I obsess over YouTube videos and Kanye West’s drunken outbursts. I think up elaborate Halloween costumes that I know I will be too lazy to actually wear. I am a waste of overpriced tuition dollars.
Sure, it might sound like I’m having a great time, but I’m really just stuck in a silent purgatory. Heaven is graduation, and hell is Facebook trying relentlessly to distract me. I’m somewhere in between, with resounding voices in my head telling me to meet this deadline and read that chapter, although I never will.
There are five stages of grief, apparently, but let’s apply them to senioritis, considering I’ve blown through each of them.
Denial: I have plenty of time to finish this assignment later. Plus, there’s a drink special tonight, and I can’t miss $2 drafts.
Anger: I can’t believe I have to do this assignment after being at the bar all night. This professor will be sorry.
Bargaining: I promise to be a better person so long as I don’t have to do this assignment. I’ll start going to church – next month.
Depression: This assignment doesn’t matter. Nothing matters anymore.
Acceptance: I feel OK about not doing this assignment.
There is no cure, no 180s. The causes might be different. Maybe you don’t ever want to leave college and you’re subconsciously trying to fail out and spend another semester in school. Or maybe you really just want to get the hell out of here and don’t see a point in doing well for what might be your last eight months of formal education. Or maybe you’ve been suffering from senioritis since you got here.
So whether you’ve seen the light at the end of the tunnel or you’ve just begun to self-diagnose, make peace. You only need a C grade to pass even your major’s classes. Put in your 70-some percent effort, and let’s go out for some drinks later.
Leah Mafrica can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.