By Mar Velez, 18, Venice HS (2007 graduate)
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Mar, who is going to UCSD, says that even though she's become a procrastinator, she still makes sure she does well in school.

I feel sick, but I’m not burning up. Chris, my boyfriend, leans in and talks to me. His voice sounds concerned, but I can’t make out any of his words because I’m drifting slowly away. My vision blurs and everything goes dark. I take a deep breath to fight my sleepiness, but it’s no use. I wake up to find myself at the end of my AP English Literature class. What’s wrong with me? What’s going on? I diagnose myself with senioritis!

As defined on Wikipedia, senioritis is “the decreased motivation toward studies displayed by students who are nearing the end of their high school or college careers. It is typically said to include slowness, procrastination, apathy regarding school work, and a tendency toward truancy.” Since spring semester started, I have had all the symptoms except for truancy; at least I am still physically in class.

(But like a true 12th grader with a bad case of senioritis, I started writing this story the day it was due!)

Every day during ninth, 10th and 11th grades, I would come home from school, eat and start my homework. I talked on the phone for a couple minutes but other than that I was studying. I knew I had to work hard because I wanted to go to a good college. I would stay up until midnight to study for my AP art history tests so I knew every detail about the artists and architecture. I wrote practice essays and reviewed my flashcards at least 10 times! On top of all this, I live a 30-minute bus ride from my high school, so I was waking up at 5 a.m. to catch the 6:45 a.m. bus.

I also sacrificed my social life. Every Wednesday, my friends would talk about the previous night’s episode of House. I barely knew who this “House” guy was. But the thing that really got to me was not being able to go to my boyfriend’s band’s shows. Chris’s band, Ars Poetria, would play at least once every two weeks. He would say, “You’re coming to this one, right?” But my usual answer was, “Sorry, I have to study.” While he was off playing the Whiskey a Go Go and cafés, I was home writing English essays.

Illustration by Joelle Leung, 18, La Cañada HS

But now that I’ve been accepted to college, things are different. I go to Chris’s shows any chance I get—even if they’re on a school night. Ars Poetria’s music is energetic and funky and makes me want to dance. As soon as I hear the intro to the song “Dada” I start rocking my head then dancing and waving my hands in the air and cheering along with the rest of the crowd. As I watch Chris getting into the song and the crowd, I can’t help but scream one of my famous “AUW!”s. I sing along and I forget all of my responsibilities waiting for me in my backpack at home.

Homework doesn’t stress me out as much

The “procrastination” and “apathy regarding school work” are my biggest problems. In math class I don’t even do the “homework” anymore. I used to make sure that I did all the assignments and got every problem right before I went to sleep. This helped me pass my tests with As and Bs. Now, I breeze through my assignments in class so that I don’t have to worry about them at home, and I don’t really care if I don’t finish all the problems. As long as I tried, right? I still manage to get As and Bs!

And when I get home, I eat and then go to my room to watch television until about 8 or 9 p.m. While I’m watching “Good Eats” on the Food Network, my homework assignments run through my mind. I always say, “OK, at 6 p.m. exactly I’m going to start my homework.” But when 6 o’clock comes, I’m still watching television. After my daily dose of Alton Brown, the host of “Good Eats,” I log onto MySpace and check my messages and comments. I comment back to a couple friends and sometimes start pointless conversations that just help me procrastinate even more. By the time I get off the computer (around midnight), I barely have enough energy to walk to bed.

Other seniors have more severe cases of senioritis. In my math class a guy who is barely passing says, “It doesn’t matter! I’m already going to college.” There are also students who don’t even show up to class for two or three weeks.

I’m not nearly that bad because in the end, no matter how much I ignore them, the work of six classes (including four APs), scholarship applications and my responsibilities as president of Peace and Justice Club still await me. I do a lot of my work at 4 in the morning. I either set my alarm or ask Chris to call me so that I can wake up, which is really difficult because I’ve been up most of the night. When I get out of bed, the house is quiet and dark. This helps because usually my house is loud with the noise of three teens and my 8-year-old brother. Also, there are no interesting shows that come on at 4 a.m.! It’s only infomercials. I’ve seen the Magic Bullet Blender infomercial like eight times.

There are times when I see my hard work pay off, through college acceptances or senior awards. Now that I know that I’m going to college, it motivates me not to slack off too much. I can’t imagine losing my acceptance because I was too lazy to do my Spanish homework!

So for now, I’ll keep up my routine and catch up with my sleep in AP English Lit.

Other stories by this writer …

Were the walkouts effective? Mar felt that student walkouts made a powerful statement. (May – June 2006)