A senior’s silent killer

In case one of your New Year’s Resolutions included picking up The Stute every week—a realistic and obtainable goal!—this column is your chance for a weekly spelunking into the life of a Stevens senior student. From its title, you might expect this column to give particular emphasis on that clandestine, slow-acting, and lethal affliction that plagues the lives of senior college students across the globe. Onset is often heightened after the winter holidays and exacerbated by long periods of sleeping and eating. I fear this ailment, commonly known as “senioritis,” more than I fear the flu because unlike legitimate corporeal sicknesses, it is defined as a decline in motivation or performance.

I feel as though this semester might in fact be one of the most arduous. While I said my goodbyes to a year that was marked by unexpected familial whirlwinds, political turbulence, and marked moments of self-doubt, I also ventured (with trepidation) into the real-world job market, prepared for one of the most difficult exams I have ever taken in my academic career, and recognized that my university sitting atop this slightly-dirty yet vibrant city will no longer be home in just a few short months. The time for peak performance is now and from the looks of it, senioritis has no place in my agenda—especially if we take into consideration the abolishment of our beloved academic breaks (yes, I’m bitter).

How does one overcome this duality within the senior experience? Do I remain steadfast in my studies and abstain from the carefree leisure of my senior semester or do I carry along half-heartedly, paying a deeper homage to the well-regarded Biergarten on Tuesday evenings? For me—and many of my peers—residing on either pole of this spectrum is unrealistic. The months leading up to graduation are critical for both our academic and future professional selves, but I think there is a need to reconcile the fact that we have endured over seven semesters of having to prove to the overarching social institution of higher education that we are in fact competent and deserving of our degrees. Creating memories and capitalizing on moments of spare time in the company of good friends are just as important in these last several months as they were in the first few weeks of freshman year.

There is no current vaccination for senioritis, and its morbidity can only be assumed to be high in the senior population. However, given that we place so much emphasis on risk-aversion in all aspects of our life, perhaps we can take proper measures to stall this malignancy’s entrapment. For me, one method that I continuously go back to is envisioning myself walking across the stage and collecting my diploma from President Farvardin. I am looking forward to that ritual being one of the most significant in my life, and under no circumstance would I risk stalling that experience. There will be long nights, last minute deliverables, failures before successes, and seemingly “missed” senior moments, but I always look ahead to this moment in those lackluster periods. This semester, I’m starting off with as much force as possible so that when senioritis springs its attack upon me, I’ll welcome it with open arms.