Opinion: ‘Tis the season to be a senior


With the winter season right around the corner, seniors are becoming extremely susceptible to senioritis, juggling with the stress of the great unknown on the verge of adulthood. Drawing by: Kendall Garcia

Soraya Stegall and Kendall Garcia

 How is the class of 2023 juggling academics, college applications, extracurriculars and social life while on the brink of entering adulthood? 

Oxford Reference describes senioritis as “a supposed affliction of students in their final year of high school or college, characterized by a decline in motivation or performance.” This wrath of doom shows no mercy to its victims. Whether it’s APs or college preps, extracurriculars or extra nap time, anyone and everyone is susceptible to senioritis. 

Many seniors currently have every right to be completely overwhelmed with completing schoolwork, participating in extracurriculars, finally getting settled into school and submitting college applications. College applications are a whole new factor for seniors, one that has the potential to alter the rest of their lives. About 63 percent of students in California enroll into college after graduating high school according to a 2018 Policy Analysis for California Education report

Ventura High School Counselor Kate Raney said, “[The college application process is] basically a part-time job.” 

Emma Steiner ‘23 said, “I can’t even count how many hours I have worked on college apps! It’s crazy.”

 Jack Gordon ‘23 said, “The UC [Personal Insight Questions] has been a long process of writing, revising, and then editing, etc. I started on them in early October and just finished them last weekend. Obviously, I could have finished them sooner if I had spent more time on them each weekend, but I wanted to space it out to not get burnt out on them.”

Seniors feel overwhelmed with the pressure of submitting applications, keeping up with their grades and being involved in extracurriculars. Burnout can easily happen. 

Raney said, “This is a really stressful time. Especially for seniors. Not only do [they] have all the school work like [they] usually do, but [they’re] also exhausted because [they’ve] been doing the same thing for thirteen years, so they’re wiped out. Then [they] have all the college applications plus knowing that their whole future is in front of them. It’s a lot, it’s a lot for anybody, and it’s a challenging time.”

With this many academic responsibilities to attend to, seniors are often at a loss for the time they get to spend on friendships.

Gordon said, ”I probably spend anywhere from 10 [to] 15 hours at work each week and maybe [six to eight]practicing with the band [Loop 83], and [four to five] surfing.  I definitely do not [spend as much time as I wish to with friends]. With school, my jobs and extracurriculars, it leaves me little time with friends, and I wish I could spend more time with them.“

Sinthia Cardenas ‘23 said, “I do spend a lot of time with my friends, but it is usually at [my] extracurriculars. I am in drama, ASB, show choir and orchestra. [I spend] a very long time [on extracurriculars]. Around 40 hours [a week], including class time.”

Students are forced to cram extracurriculars into their schedules, often resulting in missing out on opportunities to relieve their stress. Besides that, the fear of the unknown is also a big stress factor.

Raney said, “I think the great unknown [is the biggest form of stress for seniors]. Not knowing what life is going to look like after June. Because, if you think about it, since they were five they knew what was happening next. Now it’s like, I have an idea? Like I’m hoping for this. It’s the unknown quality that I think makes it super overwhelming.”

For seniors, the stress of the unknown can be overwhelming. Seniors are deciding what their next step will be in life, making decisions like whether to go to a community college or university, take a gap year or go straight to school, stay in state or go out of state, etc.

Steiner said, “I dance for about two hours every day, six days a week. I would say I have a good balance between dance, school and friendships. Working down a list of things [I need] to do [has helped me manage the stress].” Photo by: Christal Anderson
Jack Rose ‘23 said, “Without a doubt, this has been the most stressful time I’ve experienced, and I think most of my classmates would relate to that. This is a time [when] we have to fully face our futures, make decisions and truly apply ourselves. And of course, there is a lot of uncertainty in the air as well as we all figure out what the next stage in our lives will look like.”

Accepting the idea of not knowing what seniors’ lives will look like in a couple of months is challenging. Finding ways to manage this stress can be even harder. 

“[Some advice I’d give to my seniors is to] be as organized as possible. Having lists, calendars and everything out is great. And using the resources you have, like getting help if you need it and not just sitting there in confusion. Always try to figure out the answers that you need to know. Come to your counselor, cry in their office. Get enough sleep and go out with your friends, have some balance in your life and talk to your family if you have the kind of family you can talk to. Use your resources and understand that it is a hard, stressful and overwhelming time,” said Raney.