What We All Can Learn From Senioritis

After years of hard work, high school seniors will soon receive their college acceptance letters and senioritis will take hold of seniors nationwide. Senioritis, even though it sounds like a contiguous disease it is not, but a real occurrence described as a time when students have accomplished their high school goals, are no longer motivated academically or otherwise and mentally "check-out" in their last two semesters of school.

A blog by Counseling@NYU points out that many students don't even realize the potential impact of senioritis on their college careers. Admission invitations could be rescinded, scholarships lost and they may start college on academic probation if their grades slip. This article offers strategies for students and school counselors to mitigate senioritis such as maintaining college credit coursework, having fun but not too much fun and participating in a career-focused internship to maintain interest.

Survey data from The Senior Year Enigma research paper was also shared which showed underclassmen downplayed the senioritis phenomenon. This infographic shows only 7.7% of freshman strongly agree with the statement, "My academic effort will most likely decline in the second semester of my senior year," as opposed to 23.8% of seniors who strongly agree.

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My daughter is a freshman in high school so I asked her reaction to this article and she answered a few questions I pulled out Appendix G of this research paper. Here are her responses.

What did you think of the article?

I think it paints high school students as lazy and encourages an incorrect stereotype of teens.

I wonder if her friends would agree?

During your senior year what types of classes do you expect to enroll in?

I intend to take honors and AP classes and I want to learn new things outside of my typical studies.

This answer seems in line with the article's suggestions about managing senioritis by taking college credit coursework and participating in career-focused internships.

Q: Do you expect to be academically challenged in your senior year?

A: The classes should be challenging or else I'm probably in the wrong classes.

This made me smile [proud parent].

Do you expect your senior year to be a time for you to give serious academic preparation for college or the workplace?

Yes, but when I'm a senior I do want to have fun, too. It's the end of high school and I probably will have worked hard for four years.

She seems at risk for senioritis!

In this quasi-research of my own, her answers seemed congruent to the findings in The Senior Year Enigma survey and the phenomena of senioritis. I'm sure she will learn important lessons about combating senioritis that will carry over into the adult world of work too.

The descriptions about senioritis did ring true for how working professionals move on to new jobs. Let's call it "adult senioritis" and you probably can recall a time in your career when you had a burning desire to leave a position you hated or a job you had outgrown. You might have also once been giddy about submitting your resignation or sad to leave a place where you had learned a great deal and made good friends.

As a professional, no matter how much you hate or love your job and thrilled to be moving on to your new adventure, it's imperative for your reputation to end on the right note. You'll want to feed good karma into your professional network since it will be returned to you in the years to come.

Even if you can't wait to leave an organization, completing work and organizing projects for your successor and remaining respectful to colleagues and supervisors on your way out the door is the right thing to do. If you're leaving a workplace that you love take the time to express your appreciation to supervisors, reflect on your accomplishments and have fun with your co-workers one last time. In both scenarios, your former employer could one day bring you new opportunities and the way you depart leaves a lasting impression.

Changing jobs and graduating is a natural part of moving on in life and we may have learned all we need to know to master this skill as seniors in high school.