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The Senior Slide

Seniors speak up about their end-of-the-year procrastination.

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Look around you. A silent epidemic afflicts some of the seniors, as it has done for past generations. Maybe it’s afflicting you. It strikes some when the springtime weather rolls around. Senior’s minds focus on making decisions, planning for the future. Pajamas may have become a lifestyle for some; others may forget or are unwilling to take care of what’s left to complete in Biddeford high school. This seemingly blissful disease is called ‘senioritis’.

Many students experience the ‘Senior Slide’ after winter break. A lack of motivation sinks in, which triggers the excess of procrastination. Some miss classes, some forget homework exists. In senior Joshua Kalinowski’s case, his senioritis has a balance of pros and cons.

“I get really tired after class. I just go home and sleep. So, I mean, I’m getting more sleep than I ever have,” said Kalinowski. “We’re so close to the end; it feels like nothing even counts anymore. I have no urge to do anything.”

Procrastination often comes along with a sense of urgency. The little voice in your head telling you to finish the pile of work that you’ve put off for two weeks. Kalinowski explains that the feeling is now gone.

“I would know that [I was procrastinating]. Like, I have to get this done and it’s going to be a lot harder, but I’d still do it [procrastinate] anyway. At this point, I just let it be.”

Guidance counselor Travis Roy said that he—and others—try their best to motivate seniors out of this slump.

“Teachers are pretty good at letting us know how the seniors are doing. If they slowly stop turning things in on time or start missing classes, I usually call them down for a quick reality check.”

Roy added that in those consultations, he reminds students that they should still finish strong.

“[If] you’ve got scholarships pendingI always like to throw this card out there because a lot of seniors don’t think about itcolleges can revoke your acceptance. We don’t want it to get to that point.”

Senior Abigail Laverriere uses college as the motivation to finish her classes, adding that she wasn’t a procrastinator until this year; she was the type of person who got home and immediately did her work, even if it wasn’t due yet.

“I mean, I still want to make sure that the classes that really matter to them [colleges] are still good. I’m not going to slack off on something that I showed so much interest in. I’m still doing what I can; at the same time, I know it’s not pristine. It’s not amazing. It’s not the epitome of what I can do. It’s decent.”

Laverriere said that she could have relieved some stress from her underclassman-self by taking extra time to complete an assignment, or waiting to start a project.

“I think even underclassmen might suffer from senioritis. You think it won’t get worse, or you think ‘after vacation I’ll feel refreshed and ready to go’, but it just keeps getting worse.”

When he was a freshman, Kalinowski remembers knowing seniors who missed school for weeks at a time.

“I don’t think it is [a bad example on underclassmen],” said Kalinowski. “Senioritis has always been a thing; it’s like a tradition.”

You may be wondering what can be done to resolve this issue. The Urban Dictionary hits the nail on the head when they say that “the only known cure is a phenomenon known as graduation.”

“Still do your work, still just try to hang in there. It’s especially difficult once you know your plans for after high school,” said Laverriere. “Try and keep yourself motivated in any way possible, and I mean any way possible.”

She adds that her senioritis isn’t a “just-don’t-do-it” occurrence. She feels that many people have experiences where they stop doing work all together and in her book, that’s not what senioritis should be.

“Their [seniors] larger goal is to get out of here,” said Roy. “Their larger goal is to go to college; that’s where their head’s at. They have to realize that ‘oh yeah, I need to refocus here.’”

College admissions counselor and CEO of IvyWise, Kat Cohen, pointed out a basic solution in her Huffington post article about senioritis.

“While it’s necessary to highlight what’s at stake, students need to arm themselves with the tools to combat the temptation to slack, not just the threat of consequences.”

Some of the tools she mentions involve setting small goals, improving study habits and taking time to relax. Those methods don’t always work for every student, as senioritis is a case-by-case scenario.

“It’s kind of weird, towards the end of my sophomore year—I think a lot of others experience this also— you feel like you’re kind of losing motivation as is,” said Laverriere. “I used to think ‘oh, that’s senioritis’, it’s not. I nicknamed it the ‘Sophomore Lull’.”

Laverriere’s advice for underclassmen is to realize that Junior year is extremely important. She said that students should come back after summer break motivated and ready to do everything you can to finish high school.
“It’s a beautiful time of year; there’s a lot of exciting things going on, but you’ll enjoy yourself even more if you finish the right way,” said Roy. “Remember, your ultimate goal is to be out of here and to go on to the next step in life. Try to finish strong. Keep that in your mind.”

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