Senioritis: A condition in which the high school or college senior experiences a significant decrease in motivation, initiative, and ability to accomplish previously attainable goals.
It's the second semester of your senior year, and the last few months of your time as a high school or college student. You're exhausted from filling out school or job applications, worrying about grades, sad to leave some of your closest friends, and anticipating some major life changes in the next few months.
You just want to put on sweatpants and hope that book report will write itself.
Causes: Burnout from school work and / or job; fear of impending major life change(s); sense one is "done" and anxious to move on
Hey, don't you deserve a break? You've worked really (really!) hard these past few years, and even harder last semester, to make sure you got the grades, did the extracurriculars, worked that part-time job, and volunteered to make sure that you had the transcript and bank account to move on to the next phase of your life.
Not to mention, you had to field well-meaning but increasingly annoying questions from every friend's parent, your grandmother, and Aunt Sally about "Where are you applying?" and "What are your plans for next year."
Haven't you suffered enough?
Symptoms: Inability or unwillingness to complete tasks; procrastination; apathy toward school work; dismissive or defensive attitude about missed work; increased tardiness or absences.
It's hard to care about something that doesn't feel immediately relevant anymore. You got in at one of your top choice universities, you've been accepted to a graduate program, or you received a pretty good job offer. What's the difference if you skip an assignment or two, sleep in instead of going to class on Friday mornings, or stop showing up for practice? You're done.
Consequences: Left untreated schools and employers can and do either send warnings or rescind offers for program spots, employment, or scholarships.
I promise this isn't a scare tactic designed by your teachers or parents - colleges, organizations, and companies will retract their offers if you are no longer the same candidate they accepted. They approved a self-motivated, hard-working, and high-achieving person. If you are no longer demonstrating the same character traits and work ethic that won them over, you are possibly no longer wanted or needed at that particular school or workplace.
Treatment: Stay focused on your long-term goals, while striving to be a person of integrity.
Integrity means doing the right thing, even when nobody is watching. So don't put your parents, teachers, schools, or employers in the undesirable position of chasing you around to accomplish the tasks you already know you are obligated to do.
Set short and long-term goals, and check off your progress as you go. If you are nervous about money after graduation, set a budget, talk with a school's financial aid office, or seek advice from a trusted parent or professional.
If you are anxious or fearful about the coming months, discuss your feelings with a family member, friend, or counselor. It's completely normal to feel nervous about upcoming life transitions. You might feel better hearing how other people coped with going away to school, starting a new job, or leaving home for the first time.
Most important, consider this practice for adulting. If you want to be treated like an adult, you need to act like one. Adulthood is more than being of a certain age; being an adult is a mindset. You take responsibility for own life by identifying and looking for ways to solve problems, anticipating and meeting challenges, and showing up for your obligations consistently, even when it's inconvenient, boring, or you just plain don't feel like it.
Adulting is fun too - college and graduate schools are opportunities to pilot your own course of study and explore interests, while experiencing an unprecedented degree of independence. New jobs mean forging a possible career path, while learning how to support yourself. Lots of good times are on the horizon if you can stay focused on how to close one chapter of your life neatly and with purpose.
Senioritis is contagious, rampant, and even fairly understandable. But it's not inevitable or unavoidable.
If you care about getting to the next season in your life with no regrets, than finish your current stage of life strong, with the same integrity, drive, and focus schools and employers want to see you bring their communities next fall.