The Junioritis Epidemic at Menchville

Everyone talks about senioritis but no one talks about junioritis. The condition known as junioritis is more severe than senioritis. This state of mind affects juniors in their third year of high school who have lost motivation to attend school and complete work on time. Junioritis is greatly associated with the accumulation of absences, tardies, and missing assignments. Second-semester senior grades won’t be considered by colleges as long as they pass the class. In contrast, juniors still have over a year and a half of high school left and two semesters that will go on their record.

Look out for juniors who exhibit these symptoms: crankiness, frequent mental breakdowns, laziness, and rebellion; although, the telltale of junioritis is the build-up of absences making the other symptoms irrelevant without their presence in the school. The disastrous condition has low fatalities and subsides when summer comes; although, students tend to catch a strand of the disease known as senioritis towards the end of their senior year.

Cases of junioritis are highest during the months of May and June when juniors are placed under extensive stress. Students are balancing spring sports with approaching regional games while sparing time to study for their AP exams that take place in the first weeks of May. As well, they have to take time to prepare for the SAT, take grade 11 SOLs, and attend class to prepare for their semester exams in June. Many students are also in clubs and have part-time jobs. 

Atiana Williams, Class of ‘23, is taking 4 AP classes, one honor class, and one regular class while being the Varsity Basketball captain, participating in two honor societies, and AAU Basketball. Williams said, “Balancing school and extracurricular activities at the same time when they’re so demanding…I do the work on my time. Due dates are a social construct.” Many juniors including Atiana are struggling to come to terms with the due dates. Atiana finds due dates to only have meaning to those who place value on them. Her philosophy is prioritizing her mental health over homework.

Riley Kane, Class of ‘23, is taking 3 AP classes, 3 honor classes, and one online class while being on the Varsity Softball team and playing in softball tournaments with her travel team almost every weekend. She said, “I do the bare minimum. It shouldn’t be an option between work and my mental health.” When asked how she is managing junioritis, Kane said, “I’m not coping.”

Ella Sturgis, Class of ‘23, is taking 2 AP classes, one honor class, and one regular class while being enrolled in New Horizons. She is also a Young Adult Police Commissioner and is part of the Explorer’s Post with the NN Police Department. Sturgis said,” I’m tired of all the work teachers give us. I just want to leave. New Horizons isn’t that bad, we’re just winding down. I get a mental break between the two so it’s not as stressful, [however,] taking the bus causes me to miss some of my class time.”

Last year, final semester exams were optional for the juniors. The current seniors who are struggling with senioritis never caught junioritis since last year was virtual. The Class of 2023 is the first class after the COVID-19 shutdown to have a full in-person junior year. The final weeks of school only worsen the effects of junioritis since seniors graduate early while juniors are still required to attend.

Juniors are in the awkward phase where they still have an abundance of events, yet they are also preparing themselves for college. This tragic condition causes juniors to discover their optimal effort level, the ideal amount of work they must put in to survive. Junioritis creates a false sense of hope and leads to procrastination among juniors who still possess a hint of motivation. Procrastination is when students become more productive as the assignment’s due date gets closer. 

Alli Strickhouser, Class of ‘23, is enrolled in a mixture of AP classes and honor classes while playing on the Varsity Field Hockey team and working at Kismet Bistro. She said, “Seniors can get exempt from their exams by having A’s for both marking periods, but juniors still have to take them. All the other school districts nearby exempt exams for upperclassmen when they have A’s for the second semester.”

When asked if he believed junioritis is “real,” Mr. Traner, a well-known AP math teacher, said, “that’s for people over 65.” While having a strong sense of humor, Mr. Traner believes when “you use up junioritis right now, you forfeit senioritis,” and that it is when “you say whatever you want to say and do what you want to do.” Although Mr. Traner doesn’t like when students slack off in his class, he tries to not monopolize their time by separating lessons to have time to do all the classwork and homework in class.

While it seems that junioritis is an excuse by juniors for their lack of effort in school, junioritis is contagious to hard-working and busy students who start to lack motivation in the final months of junior year. The most concrete way to overcome junioritis is to simply keep going and take one day at a time. Students should take time for themselves and find what makes them happy again. Juniors need to remember why they enrolled in these challenging AP/Honors classes and why they participate in their extracurricular activities. Rekindling their motivation is necessary for the students as they approach the fall months of senior year which are comprised of college applications and scholarships.