Senior Burnout: The Increasing Vexation

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Art by Burke Brown

As the weight of the world is hammered onto senior students, their to-do list makes pressures high. Adjustments needed due to the pandemic does little to ease this weight, where most 2022 graduates are now consumed with an overflow of work.

Eva Smedeby, Staff Writer

Time is of the essence, but what are seniors to do when time is lost, and the future couldn’t be farther away from offering compromise?

During a year of hectic change, political divisions, and isolation, there are few things that remain a unifier for high school students. One these few bonds forged, however, has come with rather negative consequences. Having plagued the lives of senior students, a majority agreement has arised on the idea of a worsening effect to an academic infection: senior burnout.

This ongoing dilemma has been around just as long as education has, demonstrating  the exhaustion of a 12th grade student after many, many years in the system. 

It’s usually recognized as a lack of motivation and tiredness that makes accomplishing school work seem like an impossible task, although with recent circumstances, specifically on behalf of adjustments to the pandemic, the effects of senior burnout have seemed to worsen.

Many senior students are now feeling rushed into graduation, as important months of education have been completed much less effectively online. For many seniors, everything is now done in a rush to make up for lost time both during and outside of school. On the contrary, college applications and current courses have shown no signs of slowing down. 

“Especially with the College Board and moving back toward in-person, people were kinda just thrown off with everything, like college applications,” said senior Mina Mahmoodzadeh.

Although some colleges are now offering test optional policies– benefiting students who were ill prepared for AP exams due to isolation or those whose tests were cancelled — favoritism still lies on those with submittable scores. 

Resume building opportunities like volunteering are also now being packed into an already busy 12th grade schedule, as most students were relying  on sophomore/junior year to get those things done. Evident circumstances made that impossible.

“People are now just trying to have a good senior year, starting to hang out with people more which is almost worse for college cause you wanna have good memories and a good high school experience, but you just don’t have the time anymore,” said senior Julia Stoica. 

At what point do you prioritize school and trying to be the best that you can, but the world is chaos at the same time”

— Mina Mahmoodzadeh

2022 seniors weren’t given the chance to form a class bond as most typically would, leaving the upcoming graduates to be surrounded by faces hardly known. 

“Individuals who are just coming into high school will still be able to have that chance of growth in that community setting, but with seniors we’re all just now coming together more, and we didn’t have that chance to build that bond throughout the years,” said Mahmoodzadeh.

Getting back into a healthy mental state, a hurdle being faced all around the world after such drastic adjustments and isolation, is another drawback for handfuls of 12th graders.

It seems that in these past months especially, time is demanding no rest. Getting back on the educational track is a hassle, learning new content on top of it is yet another, and that goes without mentioning re-socialization efforts, college applications, work, volunteering. Even when students aren’t doing any of these things, they are most likely spending the rest of their time thinking about the ongoing list. 

At the mention of “taking a break” seniors might as well laugh, as there is no such thing of probable success while taking a gratifying amount of time for oneself. 

The balance between the already solidified demands of being a senior while navigating and creating adaptations for all that the pandemic has thrown about is a heavy weight.

Senior burnout, with these circumstances, is no longer a small fire, but rather a raging  set of demands that need to be recognized and adjusted for the well being of 12th grade students. 

“At what point do you prioritize school and trying to be the best that you can, but the world is chaos at the same time,” said Mahmoodzadeh.