“Only got so many more days of high school left. You don’t want to look back and regret skipping one of those last days,” read a message from one Sixth Former in the class’s GroupMe chat. Yet the sentimental value of each passing day of school to the Sixth Form is rarely enough to overcome the heavy burden that is “senioritis.” With a single swipe of the finger down the screen, a prior message reads: “We have thirteen days of school left[.] [H]onestly who cares at this point[.]”
A single screenshot of the conversation perfectly encapsulates the attitude of the graduating class: not apathetic but tired; not detached but separated by a year of restrictions and lack of tradition.
This difficult year has given the Sixth Form little power or choice over what it might normally control. It is largely because of this that senioritis has found alternative sources for the typical “senior experience” manifested in an abundance of attendance sheet “tardies,” unorganized skip days, and unenergetic classes.
“With all the restrictions such as limited interaction with a majority of the grade and no lunch in the dining hall might be some factors to why some seniors are getting senioritis even more than ever this year.”Max Ferracci ’21
“I think senioritis has been more prevalent this year due to some of the daily struggles that are unique to this year,” Sixth Former Ethan Diamond said. “For example, the extended school year/shortened senior project time frame, masks, constant distancing, and much longer classes to just name a few.”
Sixth Former Max Ferracci agreed, saying, “With all the restrictions such as limited interaction with a majority of the grade and no lunch in the dining hall might be some factors to why some seniors are getting senioritis even more than ever this year.”
But perhaps the idea that the senior slide is larger than before is an illusion.
“I believe that senioritis is not more prevalent than previous years but rather the volume of work is much more in proportion to the work usually given to seniors at this time of year,” said Sixth Former and Student-body President Cyril Leahy. “People perceive heightened senioritis because, for example, my English class has had multiple projects, an in-class essay[s], and multiple multi-page in-class worksheets in the last two/three weeks, and students are simply burnt out.”
A possible source of this “heightened senioritis” or perception of it has arisen with seniors eager to get started on graduation projects finishing out the last days of the fourth quarter. With teachers rushing to finish out courses and seeking to keep disconnected classes engaged, the typical gradual Sixth Form transition is nowhere to be found.
Diamond said, “What we have seen is all sorts of projects and tests pushed until the final days of school. It appears there is a disconnect of standard senior quarter-four assignment levels than in previous years, possibly due to the quarter system.”
Leahy said, “I think that fourth-quarter teachers have been tough on seniors, but it is mostly required by the schedule the school has implemented due to COVID. While fourth-quarter seniors are used to little homework and few major assignments, it’s impossible to create an entire class that usually takes a semester to teach and not have more assignments with fewer days.”
However, some seniors have not had the difficult experiences of most.
“I believe that the teachers have been pretty fair with the workload so far during this fourth quarter,” Ferracci said.
“I think the school has somewhat mishandled the second-semester senior schedule.”Student Body President Cyril Leahy ’21
This sentiment has been met, not with understanding and new senior traditions and privileges, but with an administrative backlash against the one way the Sixth Form has found any sort of control over––or at this point, relief from––its defining high school year.
“I think the school has somewhat mishandled the second-semester senior schedule,” said Leahy.
Sixth Formers agree that the problem now present was not only foreseeable but solvable.
Leahy said, “The higher faculty have shown less compassion than I would have hoped. The predicament of fourth-quarter seniors is a situation that was predictable months before this, but I see little active thought and interest in our experience as we get shuffled out the door. It really feels almost disrespectful, especially as a student who joined student government to initially help the student body. I have not been able to accomplish many of my goals due to COVID, but I have not once been contacted in regards to making plans for seniors.”
Definitively, senioritis has not come to heightened levels, nor has this Sixth Form class acted in any kind of unprecedented manner. Perhaps an inconvenient schedule has pushed the Sixth Form struggle to new levels, causing a gross misperception of their situation. A tough fourth quarter, not a lazy senior class, has caused empty 8:45 a.m. classrooms.
Leahy concluded, “It’s [a] shame teachers are being put in this position, as I do not blame them at all. Rather, I think the administration and the school at large have not taken enough time to thoughtfully plan out seniors’ schedules in the fourth quarter.”