Seniors and alumni talk about their experiences with senioritis and the effects of being at-home versus in-school second semester. 

Abigail Manalese

Staff Writer

     As students pile back into classes after a two-week long break, whether it be through the winding halls of American or pages of Zoom participants, nearly everyone is feeling refreshed and ready to tackle a new day. On the flip side, some are left dreading more school work after getting a taste of sleeping in and weeks without having to worry about homework or deadlines. Second semester quickly crept into students’ minds with thoughts of increased workload and difficulty. For a certain group of students, however, second semester meant more freedom albeit lessened productivity and lower motivation.

     The titular faux-disease fourth year American high school students have long been said to catch in their second semester is aptly called “Senioritis”. According to the online Merriam-Webster dictionary, Senioritis is “an ebbing of motivation and effort by school seniors as evidenced by tardiness, absences, and lower grades.” For many seniors this year, senioritis has become a whole new kind of monster.

     Nadin Souki, a student taking advanced placement classes and heading the leadership rally committee as a rally emcee her senior year has voiced to her friends that being at home makes her feel even worse second semester.

     “It just really sucks because my bed is literally right there, and it’s so hard to resist the temptation of just taking a nap. Usually my eyes sting and I have headaches [from being on Zoom classes and meetings], so having to do more work on the computer just makes falling asleep on my bed that much more tempting,” Nadin Souki (12) laments.

     Several students such as Souki have blamed the environment that they are forced to learn in and the lack of options they have for a legitimate study space that is free from distraction. Others, such as Audrey Yu, a fellow advanced placement class senior, have also blamed the repetitiveness and monotony of distance learning.

Audrey Yu (12) struggles to complete her math homework due to a lack of motivation in continuing as a second semester senior.

     “I exist in the same place for 24 hours. I sleep here, I do work here, and I sleep again, and I come back to do work. . . I’m so unmotivated and unproductive doing work because I’m sitting at the same desk for like 10 hours a day” Audrey Yu (12) complains. 

     Alumnus Jubilly Galang agrees, having graduated from American High School in 2018, he is now experiencing what it is like to feel unmotivated and unproductive in an at home setting while attending Chabot Community College.

     “[In my opinion] dealing with school in the second semester is just repetitive more than usual. It’s not like [seniors now] go to class and do some activities with other people around you like in my senior year. That, and with the seniors this year and last year losing a lot of their more memorable events is sad and contributes to the lack of motivation” says alumnus Jubilly Galang.

     The routine itself was not a problem for other students; instead those without a set routine struggled without clear guidelines or direction from teachers. For the class of 2020, the first to bear the brunt of the initial lockdown phase and distance learning, students were left unmotivated because of the uncertainty regarding how online school was running.

     Jarod Woodbury, an alumnus from the class of 2020 and part of the American High Performing Arts sound crew recalled his second semester motivation taking a nosedive because of the lack of direction.

     “The uncertainty that surrounded school with both teachers and students not knowing what they were doing is what really made me not want to do work. Before lockdown, I would say my senioritis was very mild at best, but being at home with no one knowing at all what was going on definitely lowered my motivation” Jarod Woodbury (Alumni).

Jarod Woodbury (Class of 2020 Alumni) lying on the floor of the AHSPA theatre after a long day of school and theatre work in his second semester of senior year.

     From uncertainty to dreary repetitiveness, distance learning has mutated senioritis into a much more aggressive version of itself. Many seniors have resorted to not submitting assignments, finding themselves unable to get out of bed, less willing to risk their physical health continuing to work on their technical devices. After 5 hours of lecture and several attending family or extracurricular meetings through the computer as well, super-senioritis has been plaguing its victims through the screen.

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