Column: Senior year may be more fearful than you think

Stephanie Markham, Editor-in-Chief

The term “senioritis” has been somewhat overused in recent years, and as a result, it now carries a more ambiguous interpretation.

This diagnosis is typically given to students when, in their final stretch of schooling before graduation, they struggle to maintain the same motivation that’s gotten them through to senior year in the first place.

They find themselves in the paradox of an endless cycle of procrastination coupled with the relentless determination to finally be done with school.

But even freshmen have been known to claim “senioritis” with barely a semester of school under their belts.

What the word has now come to describe is more of a general slump that students fall into when faced with the demanding nature of academics.

Their desire to earn a degree and be successful is in direct contrast with their desire to sustain balance and sanity in their lives, but somehow or another, they must continue.

They have either put in too much time already or have too much to lose by giving up.

The resulting state is a sort of limbo that students exist in as they begin to feel they are dragging themselves through the motions just to reach the end of the race.

As a senior in college, I’ve felt senioritis at plenty of moments throughout my academic experience.

But there is a different feeling that often descends upon seniors that I find I am unable to precisely name.

It’s another paradox-type feeling, one of contradicting states of mind that meld together to create the unique plane of thought we travel on as we near the edge of our education.

It’s a mix of simultaneous optimism and sadness, hope and dread, relief and panic.

As seniors, we are at the point in our lives when all of the opportunities we have been working toward for years are supposed to be right in front of us to grab if we only want them badly enough.

Having been in school for so long, though, we have fallen into the safety net of always having more classes to sign up for, more grades to improve on, more time to navigate our newfound freedom before we have to join the “real world” of careers and adult responsibilities.

Suddenly, as graduation looms closer, many seniors are at a loss for words when someone asks them how they feel about starting this new chapter of their lives.

On the one hand, we are happy to be done with the long, tumultuous journey we set out on as naïve young freshmen, but for most graduating seniors, the vast uncertainty that lies ahead is enough to overshadow that sentiment.

Even those who are lucky enough to have secured a job before graduation are most likely apprehensive, because no matter what their lives will have to change in some way once they have finally received their diplomas.

Whether this strange feeling has a name or not, it is all too real for seniors such as myself. Add senioritis into the mix, and you’ve got one hell of a ride to the finish line.

Stephanie Markham is a senior journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].