Sun. Nov 28th, 2021

Editor’s Note: The following is a column by Juan Esteller, a senior at Leesville, on the phenomenon known as senioritis.

I vividly remember sitting in Mrs. Dinkenor’s AP English IV class. Each school day my fellow seniors and I would eagerly report to her 4th period class, awaiting whatever insightful and strange lesson she would present us. She always made sure to provide us with whatever information we would need to process a work. Hence, before we delved into the Shakespearean tragedies, she dictated one infallible rule: the climax comes always in Act III, perfectly in the middle of the play.

I always took a particular liking to that rule; it made perfect sense to me. The climax needed to come in the middle. There needed to be sufficient time before it for the plot to develop, for Iago to connive, for Hamlet to vacillate, and for Lady Macbeth to manipulate. And afterwards there needed to be sufficient time for Othello to realize how Iago had deceived him, for Hamlet to realize he had vacillated for too long, and for Macbeth to watch nonsensical prophecies unfold before him. Before the climaxes, the plays rested in balance; thereafter, the characters had firmly established their identities and could no longer turn back on the Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune.

And as we all know, life is but a play. Or an ultimate play composed of many smaller plays, I’d argue; and high school is only a smaller, hormone-ridden, angsty play. We seniors find ourselves well into our final act.

By analogy, if our high school lives are half-decent plays (they definitely have more than enough drama), then our climaxes should come midway through, perhaps at the end of our sophomore years or at the start of junior year; at those points we have to make some decision of seismic proportions, and will have to ride the consequent tsunami till we wash up on the shores of college and adulthood in the fall.

And now we reach our topic of conversation: senioritis. This semester, it has spread more quickly than rumors about Smart Lunch (underclassmen, behave!). But it is our duty, to become in certain cases passive, indifferent, and intransigent given the impending closing of the curtains on June 5. All of the acting and heavy lifting are done: we’ve already experienced our climaxes—we’d decided by junior year how hard we’d try in school, whom to date, what sports to play, and where possibly to go to college. Our destinies had roughly ossified by the winter junior year. Now we experience only the repercussions.

What would happen if we seniors didn’t accept our fates? I know: the play that is high school would become lopsided, aimless, inconclusive. We’d futilely try to rewrite over indelible ink that has already dried—and the script would become illegible. Senior year is not a time for change. Senioritis is the manifestation of this; we are good actors, and good actors do not confuse their audiences. Hence senior year we do not make new things happen; we let things happen to us, as prescribed by our past actions. And on June 5, we will present ourselves to our audience the last time, reflect on the plot of the play, and walk across the stage to receive an applause for the exhausting show we’ve put on, a show I thought at times would last forever. But nothing on our transient sublunary stages lasts forever.

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