Student Stress And Senioritis

By: Paige Butler

As we pass the halfway point for the semester, the end of the year stress begins to set in on students. The panic about whether requirements will be met and if graduation will be made possible for the students suffering from senioritis. These self-diagnosed afflictions help students communicate and understand what each other are going through. Having a name for this type of stress ensures that what students are feeling is valid.

In a study done by Vanderbilt University, it was discovered that high levels of dopamine in many parts of the brain are connected to high work ethic. However, there is also a strong negative association between dopamine levels and work ethic in the anterior insula. This study proved that hardworking people have high levels of dopamine in the two regions of the brain well known for their role in reward and motivation, and low dopamine levels in the anterior insula, which is tied to motivation and risk perception. These results translate to the choice between being a slacker or a go-getter because it is actually dependent on how the brain processes risks and rewards. Senioritis could actually be explained by a change in dopamine levels in the three previously mentioned regions of the brain.

After a year and a half spent remotely learning online, the switch to in-person education was already hard enough. Students expressed that these changes have been visible in the grade book too. BHS senior, Kate Northen said in an interview that it’s been hard but “when you just sit down and focus you get a lot done.” Northen jokes that she has even had senioritis since freshman year.

When asked about how she is handling end of the year pressure, with graduation being right around the corner, she says “I’m excited for the end of the year because that means we get to start our lives and have so much fun… And get out of this damn school!” 

Kate and others have been good at seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and using what comes after high school as a form of motivation. For students needing the extra push, Kate says, “It can be hard but when you really put your mind to it, it becomes easier to handle and then you finish and there is a big weight off of your shoulders!”

So as the year starts to come to an end, remember to stay ahead of the curve so you can enjoy what is yet to come.

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