There is only one thing keeping Tawnni Ortland, CSUF kinesiology major, from slacking off academically and falling into the trap of senioritis. “If it wasn’t for me wanting or needing to go to graduate school, then I would not care (about grades) whatsoever,” he said.
Senioritis is characterized by school seniors’ lack of motivation, excessive absences and general apathy toward coursework, affecting academic performance, according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling.
Leani Gutierrez, a CSUF senior, has experienced these symptoms during college.
“I can feel it. I kind of follow the ‘Due today? Do it today!’ protocol now. However, I can see it affecting my grades; I need to stop,” she said.
Senioritis may not seem like a real state of mind, but it can lead to a pile of procrastination.
“This is my second year of grad school, so I definitely have no time to have senioritis like I did my last semester of undergrad,” said Farnosh Mazandarani, CSUF grad student. “I procrastinated until the last second and told my professors to go easy on me since it’s my last semester.”
Some professors understand the pressures of senior year, but work with students to navigate around the senioritis slogan.
“I have had students tell me in a joking way to go easy on them because they’re seniors and all that, but I can’t ever remember it being a real problem,” said Davis Barber, part-time CSUF faculty member. “It’s not about the grade, it’s about the learning.”
Elaine M. Lewinnek, Ph.D., interim chair of the department of American studies, said outside pressures often discourage students, and some even “disappear” towards the end of the semester.
“We can work with you. If there is some crisis going in your life and you need a little more time, we will work with you,” Lewinnek said.
The NACAC states on its website that retractions, such as giving up and pulling back during senior year, are shown through seniors’ final grades and can affect students’ acceptance into grad schools.
“The pressure is on. I have to get A’s in order to get into the schools I want,” Ortland said.
It seems like senioritis can impact students differently. While Ortland fights senioritis for grad school, others are seduced by its promises of sleep and leisure.
“Some students burn out toward the end and other students go out in blaze and glory,” Lewinnek said. “I think there is a variety among students.”
Sometimes senioritis sets in early and sometimes it is another term to describe an ongoing fight for motivation.
“Honestly, I don’t know if I should call it senioritis or not. I find myself wanting to spend more time with friends at times, but I don’t want look back at college life and regret it,” said Orange Coast College liberal arts major Jazmine Kelly, 25.
Kelly said she has had times when she wants to give up, but she has felt that way in her sophomore and junior years, too.
“It’s all about having your priorities straight. If you want good grades, you’ll push through it,” she said.
For seniors, the finish line is approaching quickly and a cure is in sight.
“How did I overcome senioritis? By graduating,” Mazandarani said.