Junioritis: Seniors aren’t the only ones who feel burnt out

May 15, 2022 — by Michael Fok
Photo by Alexander Kan
 Two periods into the day, I am already sleeping on the floor.
After a relatively light year of online school, the class of 2023 is burnt out towards the end of a brutal junior year. Seniors: please show some compassion.

Sitting with my senior friends in AP Calculus AB this semester, I witnessed their near-terminal “senioritis” take over. The shift was obvious: Last semester, they did their homework on the day it was assigned and studied diligently, but as the weeks passed, they’ve gone from passing students to utter bums.

Their burnout struck me as strange. I asked myself why only seniors are allowed to be tired of working hard: I was tired too, but my senior friends told me I “didn’t get it” and that my burnout wasn’t real.

The fact remains that complaints of exhaustion and burnout are just as valid — if not more — for juniors as they are for seniors.

As a junior, I have seen my workload triple from sophomore year. Waking up earlier to commute to school, going to in-person class and undertaking much harder classes than last year exhausted me: My burnout is very real.

Considering the number of AP and Honors classes juniors take, it actually makes more sense for juniors to feel more drained than seniors. While seniors only have to pass their classes after they get into their selected college, juniors have the pressure of knowing their grades are possibly more important than ever while also facing the realization that the college application process is rapidly approaching.

The seniors were juniors too last year, so they understand this. But while coming back to school after a rigorous year as a junior online sounds difficult, it’s no excuse for seniors to belittle the struggle of current juniors; much the opposite, actually. If anything, seniors should try and emulate the kind of mentor they needed in their junior year, and be more appreciative of the burnout that juniors face too. 

Don’t be a demeaning, “you don’t get it” senior. Be one who passes along study guides and who sympathizes with struggling juniors and can laugh about not knowing anything in a given subject, wondering aloud how anyone passed the class.

Junioritis is a powerful affliction, rotting us away as we power through the last lap of our toughest year yet. It might not be as widely recognized as senioritis and significantly less respected, but it’s real and it’s not fun. To all the juniors out there: Your exhaustion is valid and I’ve got your back. Seniors should too.

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