Sacred Hearts Academy  |   Honolulu, Hawaii

Ka Leo

Sacred Hearts Academy  |   Honolulu, Hawaii

Ka Leo

Sacred Hearts Academy  |   Honolulu, Hawaii

Ka Leo

Senioritis: A high school senior’s affliction

There is seemingly no avoiding it the overwhelming burden that creeps into the minds of high school seniors, depleting motivation and overall performance; it’s a condition many like to call senioritis. 

Many would agree that senioritis is most likely tied to the infinite amount of tasks seniors need to conquer in preparation for college. From filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to finalizing applications on the Common Application website, it can be a lot to handle. In addition to that, there are also classes with coursework and extensive homework. How is one supposed to tackle all of these tasks at once?

Today, I will explore the struggles of a few Sacred Hearts Academy seniors and share how they cope with these responsibilities. Malaika Ssebayiteko is one of the few black students in the class of 2024. She is also the leader of the African American Culture Club (AACC) and has a passion for acting. Senior Chelstine Tavares works a part-time job as a referee and is a proud member of the Believe It Or Not I Care (BIONIC) Team. Lastly, senior Ann Claire Walker is a taekwondo black belt and member of Model UN Club and AACC. 

Symptoms of senioritis include a lack of motivation, feeling burnt out, absences and procrastination. I’ve personally dealt with it by focusing on my college applications and FAFSA deadlines, rather than on my senior coursework. I came to terms with the fact that I had to prioritize one over the other in order to keep myself sane. 

Trying to juggle both at once, along with a part-time job, lead to an almost irrevocable burnout mid-way through the first semester. I have always been a chronic procrastinator; senior year has made me feel guiltier than ever with the amount of “to-do’s” that have been piling up. It affected my passion for writing, and I found myself faced with every writer’s dread – a seemingly insurmountable writer’s block. Writing this article has even been a struggle. But I will overcome this writer’s block, no matter how hard I have to fight for it. Typically, I look to music to cope with the feeling of overwhelment. Music has always been there for me, and I have been using it as therapy more now than ever. 

I plan to major in English, and so far, I have applied to five universities. Recently, I was accepted into the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) and am awaiting the verdicts of other universities before I commit to my state university. 

Malaika Ssebayiteko tells the story of her early-action college applications. Photo by Zaneya Caires.

Senior Malaika Ssebayiteko started her college journey in the summer of junior year. As an acting major, she was required to submit all of her applications as early action. In comparison to the rest of the class of 2024, Ssebayiteko made sure to get a head start. She researched several colleges, with Howard University at the top of her list. 

Part of the application process for Howard University included a virtual audition. Ssebayiteko laments on hearing the other applicants’ accomplishments; some had already written, directed and even starred in their own plays. Comparing herself to others took a toll on her mental health. She started to second guess what she was capable of but proved herself wrong by eventually getting into Howard. 

After finally getting into her dream college, there were many times when Ssebayiteko didn’t want to go to school. Despite this challenge, she still makes sure to focus on her coursework. She says that she does not think she has senioritis, rather she says she is “just chilling.” 

Chelstine Tavares talks about getting into the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Photo by Zaneya Caires.

When choosing her senior classes, Tavares made sure to select ones that would make her senior year easier. Tavares aids senioritis by eating her favorite foods. She is thankful for senior privileges, such as the Academy’s off-campus lunch every month, and recognizes how these opportunities might help with mental health. As a part-time referee, she prioritizes her job and values the money earned to fund college. Recently getting accepted into UHM and Leeward Community College, she plans to attend UHM and major in psychology. 

Ann Claire Walker looks back on her senior year. Photo by Zaneya Caires.

As for our last senior, Walker states that senior year has been the best year of her high school life. In past years, she was stressed about obtaining good grades, especially during junior year. Now, she says she wants to “live life to the fullest.” When ranking her responsibilities, Walker puts her schoolwork first because it is what’s going to help her in her college career. Following that is family and then work. Regarding symptoms of senioritis, Walker says that sleeping helps her “reset her system” and refocus on her tasks. Walker got into the University of Hawaiʻi West Oʻahu and plans to major in psychology. 

(Left to right) Academy seniors Ann Claire Walker, Chelstine Tavares and Malaika Ssebayitekko chat in the gazebo area on campus. Photo by Zaneya Caires.

Whether it be overwhelming or calmer than years prior, senioritis can look different for everyone. And for the class of 2024, being in the second semester of school means that graduation is just four months away. The accumulation of hard work, responsibility, and persistence will all amount to the excitement of graduation day.

About the Contributor
Zaneya Caires
Zaneya Caires, Reporter
Zaneya “Zan” is a first-year Journalism student and senior at the Academy. This year, she hopes to widen her range of writing and spend more time with the SHA community before she leaves for college. She enjoys typing free-verse poetry in the Notes app on her phone and listening to music. When she doesn’t have her Airpods in around campus, she’s paying attention in class. A fun fact about Zan is that her favorite genre of music is “dad rock,” including bands such as Linkin Park, Breaking Benjamin, and Three Days Grace.
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