Observations from the Five Stages of Senioritis

Image courtesy of Lauren D’Ambra

By Caleb Pan

Stage 1: denial

It’s week one. That fresh semester energy, seeing friends again, having a big-name-big-money job offer, and the lack of an actual workload during syllabus week might just push me to do my best!

Stage 2: anger

   It’s week two, and I’m already slapped with a common hour exam. Alright, never mind. This particular class is the first in my schedule and I never show up on time ever again. I’m sure the instructor hates me.

   Frankly, the issue is these silly instructors and their strict policies and high expectations think they have power over me anymore. I attended the career fair in flip-flops, you think I care? Just because you make something hard doesn’t make it worthwhile. I’ve never seen such a unique blend of imposter syndrome and sunk cost fallacy widespread anywhere else.

Stage 2.5: (tempered) anger

   I attended a recitation with an underclassman friend to help him with an assignment. As I mumbled profanities while debugging, another (assumably) underclassman sitting on the other side curiously looked up from his screen. I happened to also look up and made some awkward eye contact.

   “The hell you think you’re looking at?” He quickly glances away. Good.

Stage 3: bargaining (and failing to do so)

   My last bit of motivation was to keep my GPA up to graduate with Latin honors. I was qualified for Magna Cum Laude and quite proud of it, raising my GPA by over 0.6 during my time at Colorado’s premier tryhard college.

   However, one day I decided to read school policies recreationally as you do and discovered Latin honors were determined by the cumulative GPA at the end of the semester preceding graduation. This meant I was guaranteed to graduate with honors even if I tanked my classes.

Stage 3.5: bargaining (and failing to do so part 2)

   I decided to read through more school policies recreationally, as you do, and discovered the school still awards you your degree if you die during your graduating semester. Even death cannot stop me now.

Stage 4: depression

   I wish I had more time. I wish I actually would wish for more time instead of feeling ready to leave. I wish the pandemic didn’t happen. I wish I wasn’t so tired. I wish I had met some friends earlier. I wish some of my friends were still alive. I wish the rovers weren’t such a sad joke.

Stage 5: acceptance

  I studied 0 hours, 0 minutes, and 3 seconds for an exam by accidentally pulling up my notes. I got an 84 and took the test in pen. The average was an 80, kinda surprised. I took a common hour exam later the same day and got a 63. I think I studied 77 minutes, and the average was 77.

   There was an assignment that was tedious busywork, and I didn’t really feel like doing it (and relearning LaTeX wasn’t appealing). So I didn’t do it. That was the first time in my life I didn’t turn in an assignment.

   I’m probably not going to earn a single A this semester. Probably straight Bs. A first for both. I do assignments I find meaningful. Turns out school is the best when you don’t care about academic performance? I spend the precious time I have left with friends and school events my fees went to. I have a countdown on my phone for when I’m gonna have time to read books again and actual disposable income.

   I read some old messages from two years ago when I first started. How distinctly younger and panicky I was back then. Was it all that bad? A bit, but not really. It’s been a ride, and one I’m grateful for. But also… don’t call me for alumni donations, you already spent my money on the rovers.

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