Senior year, senior tears: Coping with senioritis

Up until now, I always believed senioritis was synonymous with exhaustion. It was a justification for slacking, because if I’ve already worked this hard and come this far, can’t I have a break? But now, in the seventh inning of my senior year, I’ve realized that senioritis is a whole different animal.

Senioritis is heartbreak. It manifests itself in procrastination and diminished work ethic, but it has nothing to do with being out of gas. It has to do with coping.

After being in a 13 year relationship with legally mandated public school, we are on the cusp of ending things. Every interaction we have contains an underlying finality, starting on the first day.

This is your last, first day of high school. Forget the first day anxieties and the well stocked backpack, this is the last time you will do this. Maybe that party you went to where you saw your best friend from 10th grade will be the last time you hang out with them. Maybe that all nighter you pulled to finish that book for English will be the last time you tread the line between intelligence and insanity as you walk through the gate the next day for six hours of sitting in class half-asleep.

Senioritis is losing fear of the worst case scenario. What’s the worst thing that can happen, a few more awkward months? You can tell your crush you like them or admit to your friend that you don’t like them, because now these relationships have a timeline.

The only acceptance that matters anymore is the kind that comes in a big packet with “Congratulations!” printed across the front. The pressure to enter into a serious romantic relationship has vanished. We’re all going our separate ways in the fall, so what’s the point of starting something now? Try a few different types out, date around, find out some things about yourself so you know what you’re looking for when you embark on your journey through the adult dating world.

Then when the envelopes come, cope with the second round of heartbreak. After courting and visiting and interviewing and reading about and falling in love with these schools, feel the punch in the gut that comes as your eyes scan the letter and pull out the phrase “this is not a reflection of your abilities but rather the pool of applicants this year.”

Allow yourself to be heartbroken. You planned a future and now you need to reconstruct your path to success, that’s supposed to hurt. But this is an opportunity for us all to experience the cheesy teen movie heartbreak that can only be solved by buckets of ice cream with your gal pals. We’ll all be doing it together, a heart shattering experience that unites our “pool of applicants” as we collectively sob on the couch and tweet our rejections.

And then a lesson in adulthood. A lesson in changing expectations, moving on and making things work. Your senior year, you will live the entire plot of a teen movie, sometimes in one day. So while your Q “Assignments” tab may reflect a lack of accomplishment, the year never ceases to be busy, and the weight of every moment increases by the hour as you attend your last football game or play your last three day game of water assassins or go to your last, infamous Newbury Park house party that gets broken up by the cops in 20 minutes.

Senior year matters because of the mentality that it doesn’t matter.  As we part ways with the structure within which we’ve lived our entire lives, we find the freedom to find ourselves.

Photo by Samantha Meyer/Prowler

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