While it might not be a medically diagnosable condition, so-called senioritis in college students features discernible symptoms which, left untreated, can result in some long-term consequences. Comically named, senioritis is that tendency for seniors -- particularly during spring semester -- to allow their priorities to shift from their academics toward more social and leisure activities. Sometimes, though, the malady works in reverse, and formally well-adjusted students can become stressed-out wrecks.
Symptoms of senioritis follow two tracks -- academic and social -- and can vary wildly with the individual student. A once-stellar student might find himself skipping classes, missing assignments and taking a generally laissez-faire attitude toward his coursework. What he’s giving up in academia, however, he’s more than making up for in his social life. Conversely, some students suffering from senioritis find themselves overwhelmed by the mounting obligations of senior year and efforts to find post-graduation employment.
In her advice on how to combat senioritis, Laura McMullen writes in U.S. News and World Report that stressed-out seniors can miss opportunities to have some fun, but those enjoying themselves too much might find themselves blowing the opportunity to graduate on time. Either manifestation of the condition can lead to actual illness. A host of health issues -- from mild anxiety to panic attacks -- are related to stress. And that student trying to fit four years of partying into a single semester might find herself suffering with poor work habits, or even worse, she could endanger her own health or welfare.
Students and advisers offer myriad explanations of exactly why seniors are so susceptible to senioritis in their final semesters of college. Faced with the prospect of entering the real world, many students realize that college was a pretty sweet deal and are reluctant to leave its comfortable environment.
High school seniors often understand the direct link between their second semester choices and their future success because they are handed college acceptance letters conditional upon final good grades. Because college students may be facing a less certain immediate future, warding off senioritis requires a conscious effort and preventive measures. Seniors should head to the career center, beef up their resume and go on interviews. Job offers are sometimes tendered with the stipulation that the GPA a student holds stays where it is, so those offers are a great incentive to combat senioritis. For stressed-out students, it could help to take some time off. If only in the name of networking, students should meet and greet their fellow classmates. Those classroom peers, after all, will soon be their peers in the workplace.
- Mercury News: College Second Semester Senioritis Not So Fast
- Issues in Accounting Eduction: The Relationship of Accounting Internships and Subsequent Academic Performance, D. English and D. Koeppen (1993)
Linda Emma is a long-standing writer and editor. She is also a digital marketing professional and published author with more than 20 years experience in media and business. She works as a content manager and professional writing tutor at a private New England college. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Northeastern University.