I never got the H1N1 vaccine last semester, but thankfully I’ve managed to avoid catching swine flu nonetheless. My scholastic immune system, on the other hand, hasn’t been as reliable as of late. With less than 50 days until Commencement for my fellow senior classmates and me, the bulk of the college journey is clearly behind us. I’ve resorted to using a childlike incentive system: I go to class or complete assignments only if I promise myself a special treat afterwards. I think it’s safe to say I’m suffering from Senioritis.
I’m sure you’re familiar with this classic condition, characterized by a general apathy for all things academic. It’s something that’s always received a negative connotation. Granted, losing sight of the task at hand is never a great idea, but after experiencing it firsthand, I have a newfound appreciation for the nuances of Senioritis and the final stretch of senior year.
I’ll be honest, experience alone hasn’t shaped my enlightenment: I’ve had some insightful conversations with classmates. Wharton senior and Class of 2010 President Arthur Gardner Smith offered me his perspective on the final year of college, and it was nothing short of profound (though it’s what we’ve come to expect from him).
“Senior year is the culmination of all your hard efforts,” Smith noted. “But at the same time it’s also a limbo period where we’re not really sure what lies ahead, only that we’re certain it won’t be what we’re leaving behind.”
After hearing Smith explain how the times are bittersweet and how our hard work is paying off, my thoughts on Senioritis shifted away from contemplating how it could be alleviated to understanding its causes. True, I have to con myself into going to class now partly because I just hate going. But all the heavy lifting over the past four years has taught me that, in this environment, I’ll get the job done when it matters most. It’s that confidence and experience that subtly drives my seeming indifference these days.
The drawbacks of Senioritis may be unavoidable on some levels. It becomes more difficult for our minds to rationalize giving such effort when the finish line is so clearly in sight. And the unseasonably warm weather hasn’t been much help either the past few weeks (although the abundance of tank tops and short-shorts that accompany it does make an eight-block walk to David Rittenhouse Laboratories a little more picturesque.)
But we can relax because at this point we’re done with the challenges of college. Everything is about to change, and we will soon enough have new obstacles to face. Regardless of our future plans, there are uncharted waters lying ahead of all of us that sharply contrast the comfort zone we’ve been able to carve out here.
Such is true for Kristina Rochester, a College senior who is participating in Teach For America in the fall, about what she anticipates when she takes her place in front of the classroom. She’s never taught before and knows nothing can truly prepare her for the rigors of teaching except living the part. “It’s going to be a learning experience in itself, and one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” she said.
We should embrace Senioritis a bit. It may not be the most constructive condition, but it’s really a sign of how far we’ve come and how we’ve risen to this challenge that we first took on four years ago.
Smith offered up a pretty accurate snapshot of some of the luxuries that our experience has also afforded us. “At this point, I think many are thinking ‘let’s just have a good time because that’s what we know how to do best right now,’” he jested.
Yes, our responsibilities will be changing pretty soon. But here’s hoping these good times won’t be.
Jonathan Wright is a College senior from Memphis, Tenn. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Wright-ing On The Wall appears on alternate Mondays.Comments powered by Disqus
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