How is the annual surge in Senioritis cases affecting NNHS staff and students?


Photo by Haley Flavin

The final stretch of the 2022-2023 school year has finally arrived at Naperville North High School. While it’s an exciting time for all students and staff, it’s especially exciting for NNHS seniors, with major occasions that have passed like prom and rapidly approaching events like graduation. This enthusiasm does not extend to schoolwork, however, “senioritis” is in full swing for many NNHS seniors. Despite the name, this attitude shift seems to be affecting the entirety of the Naperville North community. 

Defined by the Oxford Language dictionary, it’s an affliction for high school seniors “characterized by a decline in motivation or performance.” Senioritis affects the graduating class annually. While not a real medical diagnosis, it generally refers to the lack of motivation exhibited by the senior class each year. According to Education World, symptoms of the faux illness include homework fatigue, excessive tardiness, short-term memory loss and classroom intolerance. In combination, these symptoms make for a general lack of effort students put into courses, causing a noticeable slump in energy and in some cases falling grades for seniors. 

While NNHS seniors are the ones supposedly experiencing senioritis symptoms, teachers also bear the brunt of the end-of-year phenomenon, noticing an increase in late work, minimal attention spans during class or increased absences. NNHS CTE teacher Jennifer Betthauser instructs multiple grade levels, but says she sees a far more significant behavioral change among seniors compared to other classes. 

“I notice a big difference with Seniors’ attendance and their willingness to be engaged. They tend to be less engaged around this time, so I try to make work more interactive,” Betthauser said.

Fortunately for teachers and students, senioritis is expected, so most teachers know how to handle the attitude shift by adapting class work and environments accordingly. The same cannot be said for NNHS underclassmen. Unfamiliar with the annual affliction, many younger students are also noticing the difference in seniors’ attitudes, influencing their own academic habits and behavior. In combination with school work and standardized test preparation, NNHS sophomore Meaghan Inglis says even non-seniors are experiencing their own form of burnout. 

“To be honest, I have my own case of ‘sophomoritis’,” Inglis said, further explaining her lack of motivation as the end of the year arrives. 

However, the decrease in academic motivation has not sullied the end of year celebration and excitement for seniors as they find more joy in the school day, despite not being fully committed to their work. 

“The seniors are all done with school and done with the workload because they don’t care as much and are less stressed out. They tend to enjoy the little activities and events at school more,” Inglis explained.

Excitement is clearly in the air for our senior class, anticipating all of the upcoming major events. However, it is vital that teachers and surrounding students hold them accountable for getting their work done, whilst encouraging them to have fun at the same time. As our seniors wind down on their final days here at NNHS, they should enjoy every moment that they have left. As for the rest of the students, look at the seniors as inspiration. Before you know it, you will be the one catching a case of senioritis, wondering where all of the time went. Stay driven and finish strong Huskies!