Save Yourself from Senioritis

Eleven years on any job is admirable, of course. And when you've worked hard every day to make the grade, a little rest and relaxation seems only right.

If you're a high school (or even college) senior, you probably feel a sense of entitlement from having spent so much time employed with education. Through all those years of school, you've looked forward to shifting gears. No big deal if decided to slack off a "little" on the final stretch.

Don't buy that line.

Senioritis can leave permanent damage. The affliction's contagious, too. Once a few seniors start ditching classes, sleeping during lectures, and losing interest in anything not linked to party time, everybody develops a touch of the plague.

If you catch a case of senioritis, get rid of it quickly. Here are a few real dangers of letting it linger:

  • Colleges can decide they don't really want you at their schools, after all. Students who've been accepted at the college of their choice are dumfounded when the school revokes its admission offer. Surprise! Acceptance letter carry phrases like, "Your admission is contingent upon your continued successful performance" to give fair warning that senioritis is a known threat. Eleven years of good work hitting the skids in just a couple of semesters tells schools that you probably aren't ready to make the leap to "higher" education.

  • You'll fall behind the freshmen pack. Slipping up senior year can spell disaster when college coursework builds on what you should have been learning along the way. Your classload might multiply if you need to enroll in remedial sessions to bring you up to speed. Although the time you wasted can't be reclaimed, you could find yourself up to your weary eyelids in extra work to catch up.

  • The party's over. As the English proverb says, all good things must come to an end. If the party scene becomes the "good thing" you can't stay away from, your senior year might close out with some heavy lessons learned. The negative consequences of drifting into mischief can be embarrassing (at the least) or downright devastating to yourself, your family, and your friends.

The senior slump has one clear remedy: graduation. Before that welcome ceremony, however, students can battle senioritis with an ounce of prevention. Try these tips:

  • Venture out of your comfort zone. Take challenging classes, contribute creative ideas to class discussions, raise the bar on your research and writing skills. You'll not only fight boredom and apathy, but also develop new ways of looking at what may have become commonplace in your academic life.

  • Do something for someone else. If you're a dedicated volunteer, stick with it senior year. If you've considered sharing your time or talents with the school or local community, and never quite made it past the thought process, now's the time to give volunteering a try. You may be surprised at how much fun you have and how good it feels to contribute to something or someone else. 

  • Make sure your schedule includes at least a couple of Advanced Placement (AP) classes. You can earn college credit by performing well in AP courses, and you'll get a taste of what to expect as a freshman — and beyond.

If you get the itch to skip out of a solid record your senior year, at least consider the possible outcomes.  Relief from a rash of senioritis might be a bitter pill to swallow.