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Senioritis [seen-yer-ahy-tis] noun A crippling disease that strikes high school seniors. Symptoms include: laziness, an over-excessive wearing of track pants, old athletic shirts, sweatpants, athletic shorts, and sweatshirts. Also features a lack of studying, repeated absences, and a generally dismissive attitude. The only known cure is a phenomenon known as Graduation. – The Urban Dictionary

You probably know people affected by a complex disease known as senioritis. This disease makes it appear that the afflicted have completely lost their minds. Teenagers once content with their environment and circumstances are suddenly angered by them. Carefree children are suddenly worried about what lies around the next bend. Responsible young people make outrageously bad decisions. Apathy seems to abound.

It’s baffling, really. Right when you think they KNOW better, their actions lead you to believe that maybe they’re not really ready for that next big step after all. You start to wonder what they missed, how they got as far as they did, and if it’s even possible for them to succeed at the next level. They appear destined for complete and utter failure. Why don’t they care? You stand around, scratching your head, wondering, “Who ARE these people?!” They are certainly NOT the people they were even one short year ago…

… and THEN…

Graduation occurs! Graduation – the miraculous cure to senioritis. The calm that comes as they step across the threshold is akin to the noiseless cockpit of a plane after it has broken the sound barrier. Breakthrough has been achieved. Yes, it’s a busy time for planning and preparing for the new experiences at hand, but the noise and nervousness are gone, replaced by a fresh determination and sense of purpose. Apathy and lethargy become distant memories in the thrill and excitement of embracing this new season. Senioritis is gone!

“Now wait a minute,” you’re thinking. “All that happens with one lousy piece of paper slapped in your hand?” No, of course not. It’s not the paper or even the ceremony of graduation that signals the breakthrough. It’s the awakening to a new season that occurs when the mind grasps the accomplishment that has just taken place. It may not happen in an instant, but ask any of our high school or college graduates in a couple weeks or a month, and they’ll tell you that SOMETHING has changed. They will tell you they know they are not in the same place anymore and that there is NO GOING BACK NOW!

We all go through this process. We become seasoned experts on one level – the top dogs of our group. We get so good at what we do that we become overqualified to stay where we are, so we must move on to the next level. Once we realize that, things start shaking… all hell starts breaking loose in our emotions, in our circumstances, in our relationships. We fumble. We make mistakes trying to juggle a past that we’ve fulfilled with a future that is unfamiliar. We turn to see if there’s a way to stay put, but it’s too late… we can’t make it work out here and going “there” seems impossible. We have become officially infected with Senioritis. We get frustrated and angry at the helplessness we feel. We try to undermine ourselves by slacking off and coasting along. We distance ourselves from important relationships in our lives. We are plagued by thoughts of impending failure. “I can’t do it. I’m scared. What if I don’t make the right decision?” All these thoughts and emotions whirling around make us appear to those on the outside as though we’ve lost our minds! They may even wonder who in the world we are. We don’t look like or sound like the person we were even a short year ago…

…and THEN..

Graduation occurs! Breakthrough! We step across that threshold into the new level God has prepared us for. SOMETHING has changed. We are not in that same place anymore and there IS NO GOING BACK NOW!

So do a check-up: are you in a state of apathy or lethargy? Are you struggling to maintain your relationship with God and others? Are you frustrated and fumbling around in your spiritual life? If so, it may just be that you are experiencing Senioritis. Don’t be content to stay put where you are! Go ahead and take those qualifying exams and press into the next level God has for you!

By Linda Frederick


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