Burnout and the real causes of senioritis

Hannah Heger, Trending Editor

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Students nowadays have stress coming from everywhere; whether it be from college applications, homework, jobs or just simply existing in a more stressful world. Modern students are coming up with more and more ways to justify their inability to complete tasks. By far the most popular and joked about excuse has become associated with high school seniors, “senioritis.”

Senioritis is a supposed condition of students in their final year of high school or college, summed up by a decline in motivation or performance. But senioritis is nothing more than an excuse for seniors to believe that they are entitled to being lazy. This joke condition even has a description in the Urban Dictionary as a crippling disease that strikes high school seniors which features a lack of studying, repeated absences and a generally dismissive attitude. The only known “cure” is a phenomenon known as graduation. But this entitlement often gets confused with an actual condition called burnout.

Even I have gotten burnout and senioritis confused throughout my time at the high school, but the signs and feelings of both these seem very familiar but are decidedly different. Burnout as described by the Mayo Clinic as a special type of stress, which causes the person to fall into a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity. Some experts believe that there are other conditions like depression and extreme amounts of stress that can be the cause of this state of mind. But while stress can cause the feelings of having too much happening at once, burnout is the result of feeling that you have nothing else to offer, causing a significant amount of hopelessness in the people affected. Comparing stress, which is the feeling of drowning in work, burnout can be the unnoticeable sense of being dried up.

After learning the difference between senioritis and burnout I realized how well I knew the feeling of burnout because that was what I mostly felt through my junior year. My classes I took up too much of my time and made me constantly tired and stressed, and I was unwilling to accomplish everything that needed to be done. I felt lost in the endless waves of homework I couldn’t complete and in the end it made me feel utterly defeated. The one thing that would anger me while I was in this state of mind was when my classmates and seniors themselves would joke around with their friends by claiming that they are suffering with their senioritis and how it was taking control of their schoolwork and causing them to feel miserable.

While senioritis can be a fun little joke to have with your friends, the real symptoms lead to the much worse feeling of burnout, so the next time you want to claim you are experiencing the “dreadful” senioritis, ask yourself if your feeling like you physically can’t accomplish anything or if you’re just trying to make up excuses for being lazy.

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