‘Senioritis’ sets in strong for graduating students

With graduation season just around the corner in May, senior college students, particularly those at Norwich University, are suffering from what students here call call “senioritis.”

“I would say that senioritis technically starts earlier at Norwich just because its such a hard environment,” said Spencer Williams, 22, a senior communications major from Harvard, Mass. “It’s a challenging environment on a day-to-day basis and because of that, people are always looking for the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Williams, as an example, has done well as a student throughout his years in school. He has studied through a heavy course load including an internship and many of the hardest courses for his major as he is trying to finish out his senior year at Norwich University.

Some students remedy senioritis by indulging in senior rip day. (Nick Toscano Photo)

Some students remedy senioritis by indulging in senior rip day. (Nick Toscano Photo)

Having taken on a double Iron Man race and serving as the commander for NU’s Mountain Cold Weather Company during his time at NU, he has put forth as much effort and pride into his extracurricular activities as his academic track.

There have been struggles along the way in his college career, but nothing has been more frustrating than his last semester of his senior year, he said.

“Students at Norwich are working harder than most other college students their age,” argued Williams.  Not many people have to constantly wake up at 0500 everyday to conduct physical fitness, then start classes at 0800, and finish up with doing homework and corps related activities for the rest of the night.

“I think it’s a huge problem at Norwich,” said John Zwack, 21, a senior mechanical engineering major from Steventown, N.Y. “For most people, senioritis really starts spring semester of their senior year.”

Students come back from winter break and try to figure out what is the least amount of work they can do in order to finish up their senior year, Zwack said.

“This was my first semester without over 20 credits,” said Patrick Lusteg, 21, a senior history major from Westfield, Mass. “I like to stay busy so having more credits helped keep me motivated.”

Lusteg is only taking 12 credits for his last semester at Norwich.  “They are all easy classes. I don’t have classes Tuesdays or Thursdays, so I just sleep a lot,” he said.

Many students are like Lusteg and have a very easy credit load their last semester of college.

“I think it’s a problem because people front-load their courses in their sophomore and junior year,” said Evan Carey, 22, a senior communications major from Kingston, Mass. “So the last semester senior thinks they just don’t have to worry about anything but it ends up spiraling out of control.”

Senioritis can creep in from many different angles depending on the person but it all comes back to the same main reason; students just want to leave.

Some students suggest that Norwich today is not offering them the same opportunities that were given to those in the past. The result is a loss of pride that students once had in the school.

“A lot of the traditions that were in the corps are no longer here such as original companies and the overall strictness of the school,” Lusteg said. “I want to graduate and get out of here because a lot of it is falling apart and there’s not as much pride in anything anymore.”

Others just feel they’re ready to move on after four years. “People just don’t want to be here anymore,” Williams said.  “Norwich has been great and we have a lot of great memories, but I think we are just tired of doing the same thing everyday especially when our friends back home don’t have to. It’s exhausting.”

Williams feels some jealousy towards his friends who are sad to leave college because of all of the fun experiences they had.

At Norwich, the seniors are quite clear as to the reasons why senioritis really starts to kick in.  By the time you are a senior in college, you have spent 16 years of your life attending school, year after year, and that is not including kindergarten and preschool which a lot of children had to attend.

“Some people are commissioning so they want to get out and join the military,” said Zwack, while others just want to leave so they can start making money to pay off their student loans.”

Although Lusteg’s senioritis began once he came back from winter break, along with most other seniors, he was able to kick it into gear after seeing his midterm grades.

“After I looked at my midterm grades and noticed that all of my good grades were in my elective classes and my bad grades were in the classes actually selected for my major, I had to really get down to business. It was a huge wakeup call,” said Lusteg.

However, Richard Johnson, 22, a senior studies of war and peace major from Aurora, Ohio, does not believe that senioritis exists at all.

“I was born a procrastinator,” Johnson said, “I’m able to get all of my work done. I just wait until the last minute. I think senioritis is just an excuse for people to be even lazier then they already are.  Most people are procrastinators long before they become seniors.”

Though some students are lucky enough not to suffer from senioritis directly, that does not mean that they are not affected by it.

Casey Blanchard, 22, a senior mechanical engineering major from Campton, N.H., feels the impact of  senioritis from other students. “It can be frustrating for those who it doesn’t bother because we are trying to push hard to the end of the school year but the people around me aren’t doing their work, so not only do I end up doing my work but I also have to pick up their slack,” Blanchard said.

Whether facing senioritis or not, this year’s graduation class is certainly getting excited for May.

“For the first time, we are going to step into the unknown and start our lives,” Williams said. “People are eager to step into the real world.

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