Senioritis: An decades-old phenomenon afflicting those who are nearing the end of a term of education. This feeling often strikes students during their final year in education, hopefully toward the end.
Is your senior bored or experienced a loss of motivation and care? Are they lazy and disinterested in academic-related activities and yearn to graduate ASAP? These are all symptoms of senioritis. It is quite evident for me and my peers, senioritis is rapidly developing.
That bright-eyed freshman who did every assignment days early and spent hours in the library studying has grown into a caffeine-addicted, professional procrastinator who is counting down the days until graduation. (We are at about 214ish days, give or take a few. I am a writer for a reason.)
This senior is spending her evenings binge-watching TV shows while avoiding assignments and column-writing. Don’t get me wrong, everything still gets done, but I am not as excited about it as I once was.
I never imagined spending my senior year at Shippensburg University in this way. Between the pandemic, the divisive national election and everything else that 2020 has thrown at us, this year has been the follow-up to Billy Joel’s, “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”
Sometimes while my next episode on Netflix is loading, I wonder, “How much of this is really senioritis?”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), younger adults, racial/ethnic minorities, essential workers and unpaid adult caregivers reported having experienced disproportionately worse mental health outcomes during the pandemic, and even increased substance use and suicidal ideation.
Researchers in the Student Experience Research University Consortium at the University of California – Berkeley and University of Minnesota surveyed undergraduate and graduate students on their mental health statuses during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Officials surveyed more than 45,000 students and found that students were feeling more anxious and showed signs of depression.
The National Institute of Mental Health is researching the short-term and long-term impacts of the pandemic on anxiety and motivation.
Students – and honestly everyone else is society – are coping with a fast-changing world, trying to make do with what they are given. But it is hard.
It just so happened that Oct. 10, when I wrote this column, was World Mental Health Day. This day is a reminder that we must remember to take care of ourselves during these tumultuous times. In addition to wearing a mask, take the time to make sure you and those around you are OK. Take some extra time for yourself, whether you watch a movie, read a book or vent on Zoom with a good friend. Find joy during these times.
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. The figurative candle runs out faster when you burn it at both ends. Add in the stressors of a global pandemic, and it may feel like you are trying to light the candle with a wet match.
This too shall pass, persevere and continue on in whatever it is you are doing. Whether you are working toward the end of election season, the pandemic or your senior year.