Stay-at-home senioritis

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Photo by Hannah Etienne

When students aren’t in a physical classroom, it’s easy for the mind to start paying attention to anything but what’s going on in class.

Hannah Etienne, Staff Writer

It can be notoriously difficult for seniors to stay focused during their very last semester of high school. And when they’re not in the physical classroom, it can be even easier to mentally check out.

“You can see that when teachers try to end the class and people don’t leave the Zoom, and just their pictures are there and it’s like they clearly left. It’s hard seeing the teachers realize that people aren’t appreciative or communicative,” Olivia Noland, senior hybrid student, said. “[…] It’s more evident that seniors are completely clocking out, because there’s physical evidence that they are not paying attention. They’re not giving any effort to anything, they’re just kind of barely scraping along.”

Senioritis,” a colloquial term referring to a decline in motivation or performance in seniors, may be exacerbated by e-learning, according to both Noland and Rebecca Kraus, senior. It is easier to ignore teachers when they are on a screen instead of standing in front of you, which could make it especially difficult for the class of 2021 to stay focused this semester, according to Noland.

Kraus is an e-learning student who says she has “a little bit” of senioritis this year, “just because we’re not in actual school. So there’s more leniency to actually not do work, and just get by.”

But Noland isn’t sure the lack of motivation is only applicable for seniors. She says online school is probably making it difficult for all grade levels to focus.

“I feel like everyone’s struggling with motivation right now. I don’t really think it has anything to do with me being a senior. I think it’s more associated with how school’s so weird right now,” Noland said.

In fact, Noland says she might be even more motivated working from home than she would be if school was in-person. She says that without special senior events like prom, senior ditch day, and graduation, the end of the school year doesn’t feel so special.

“I’m an artist, so there’s a bunch of end-of-the-school-year art exhibitions […] that [are] like non-existent,” Noland said. “[There’s] usually showcases at the end of the year, of everyone’s physical artwork. And that’s not happening, because everyone has their work at home. So there’s a lack of things to look forward to, especially because COVID isn’t guaranteed to end right when school ends. […] It’s still probably going to take over part of the beginning of college.”

Noland says being so isolated during e-learning makes her very eager to be done with the school year, because it’s “so dull and lifeless.” She avoids slacking off by reminding herself that she’ll be disappointed in herself if she doesn’t try her best and allows schoolwork to pile up.

Kraus takes a similar approach, by using a “if I get the work done now, I won’t have to deal with it later,” mentality. Additionally, she sets reminders and sometimes even dresses differently to increase her attentiveness and motivation.

“The other day I put on a fancy skirt,” Kraus said, “and I was sitting in my Zoom meeting in a fancy skirt; I was just wearing a T-shirt, but it just made me more motivated to actually get work done because I felt like I was actually a professional […] rather than just being in sweatpants and a hoodie all day.”

A lenient, isolated school environment may be a petri dish of senioritis, so with less than 70 more school days to go of this unusual school year, seniors like Kraus and Noland must stay motivated from home to finish out the school year strong.