Senioritis: A New Type of Stress

For three and a half years, I waited to experience the new world of a second semester senior. But it was nothing like I expected.

Before I continue this column and lead my fellow second semester seniors to think I’m insane, and invite juniors to give me death glares as they carry their stacks of SAT and ACT books, I would like to throw a little disclaimer out there.: I, Claire O’Halloran, love being a second semester senior.  Seriously, it’s one of the best feelings ever.  But second semester came with a new form of stresses that I was completely unprepared for.

Stress #1: The Second Semester Backpack Stress

Everyone wants to downsize, which is exemplified by all the Disney princess backpacks and bags that are clearly not meant to hold more than two notebooks and a pen.

I am one of the downsizers who went for the smaller, less “freshman-looking” backpack.  Yes, it looks cooler than my oversized first semester one, but there is no denying that it is utterly inconvenient.  Disney princess-ers, I don’t know how you do it.

It is stressful enough for me to try and fit all my stuff in my smaller bag, and I can’t imagine using a literally kids-size one.  Major Kudos.

The backpack stress derives from the need to carry as little as possible to show your second semester status, all while making sure you actually have everything you need for the day.

It’s a balancing act—and it’s harder than it looks.

Stress #2: Deciding What Work to Do

After what seems like an eternity of working to the absolute breaking point, how does one simply “stop trying?”

It’s a question I still can’t answer.

I’ve heard an incredible number of seniors, myself included, mentioning just how difficult it is to decide what work to do.

It’s trendy to not do it all, but it’s hard to actually pick which stuff to do without having flashbacks to first semester and that dread of missing an imperative assignment.

When faced with either completing the worksheet for your world language or finishing that math packet you swear you already know how to do (or at least some-what know how to do), the decision somehow seems impossible in your now super relaxing second semester life. Usually, the final decision turns out to be “Both seem easy. Maybe I’ll watch tv first.”

There is pressure to not have to work that hard, yet you know that if you don’t do anything then you’ll fail your second semester—which is a little less than ideal.

Therefore figuring out what you actually have to do becomes a stress in itself—but its still preferable to having the stress of doing everything perfectly.

Stress #3: Time Management

Perhaps the most stressful of the stresses.

Part of the second semester attitude is to put relaxation before productivity.  Senioritis is more than just a mindset, it’s a lifestyle, and it’s almost impossible to avoid.

The time management stress is a result of a link of ideas.  It starts with “I deserve a reward for at least showing up to school, because, hey, it’s second semester.”

The result of this is either a pit stop (usually a lengthy one) to get food at the diner with your fellow second semester seniors, or the return to that episode of that INCREDIBLE TV show that you just started—I suggest “Homeland.”

This phase is followed by the “It’s only 4:30. I still have so much time” thought.  This is where things start to go downhill.  This leads into that second episode of that season of that incredible TV show that ends in such a cliff hanger that it would be considered inhuman to not watch the third episode.

Whatever the pastime is that seems so much more important than homework, it all eventually leads to the same 9:00 realization that “Wow, I’m tired but s***, I’ve literally done nothing.”

It’s the senioritis that clouds one’s awareness of time.  C’mon teachers, it’s not our fault.

So herein lie the newfound stresses of a second semester senior.  It’s a hard-knock-life for us. But juniors, power to you because your stress level probably still wins.  By a lot.