The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.

BEACON

The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.

BEACON

The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.

BEACON

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Senioritis – Fake or Justified?

Generated+with+Dall-E%2C+Credit+to+Zara%2C+Courtesy+of+the+Author+
Generated with Dall-E, Credit to Zara, Courtesy of the Author

There is a disease out there that affects hundreds of thousands of highschoolers every year. Undiagnosable, it lurks in the minds of lazy and unmotivated adolescents. Parents and teachers become increasingly frustrated. But in the mind of your average highschool senior, they couldn’t care less. Of course I am talking about senioritis. But is senioritis actually a real thing? Is there any science behind this complex psychological disorder? 

 

For those of you who don’t know what senioritis is, it’s defined by Wikipedia as the “colloquial name for the decreased motivation towards studies felt by students who are nearing the end of their highschool education.” Students afflicted with senioritis experience a dramatic drop in grades, complete less assignments, skip school, and generally pay significantly less attention to their classes. Senior Henry Meinertzhagen says that “the self-imposed pressure to receive good grades has decreased.”

 

The logic makes sense. For most highschoolers their senior year grades are not incorporated into their GPA used in college applications. Unless they actually fail classes, they will still be allowed to graduate, and will generally have no negative consequences associated with their decreased effort. Another senior, Willa Rose, claims that “Especially with college applications keeping me busy, It’s been a new challenge to stay motivated in classes.” Senioritis is seen increasingly in the second semester, as the graduation date draws closer and closer. This can lead to immense frustration among teachers and parents, who see bright kids give up on trying in school and submit sub-par work. 

 

But is Senioritis actually a real condition? A study done at Vanderbilt University might provide the answer. Generally, high levels of dopamine in your brain are associated with an increased work ethic. However, many specific areas of the brain have different purposes in their usage of dopamine. The study claims that “there is a strong negative correlation between dopamine levels and work ethic in the anterior insula.” The anterior insula part of your brain is related to motivation and risk perception. Hardworking people have been found to have higher levels of dopamine in their areas of their brain responsible for reward and motivation, and lower levels of dopamine in the area that weighs risk and rewards. Senioritis isn’t actually a real disease, but rather the culmination of hard working students who are responding differently to their risk and reward area in their brain during their graduation year. 

Link to Study: https://sites.bu.edu/ombs/2016/02/02/the-science-behind-senioritis/

 

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