Sam’s Struggle with Senioritis


Sam Jezak

Second semester senior Sam Hsiung priorities sleep over school.

Samantha Hsiung, Editor-in-Chief

One of my current favorite poems, “Meditations in an Emergency” by Cameron Awkward-Rich, begins like this: “I wake up & it breaks my heart.” As a second-semester senior, this line couldn’t more perfectly describe how I’ve been feeling — waking up and going to school has progressively felt more and more like a continual chore.

We imagine life after college apps to be replete with loud laughter, purple sunsets, flourishing dreams, and infinite freedom from an institution that has tethered us to its fences for seemingly endless years. We dream of the finality of it all — the moment at which we feel like enough, weightless and full of nothing but satisfaction.

Well, news flash: school still exists. Grades still exist. We still exist. The burdens and weights and heavy loads of four years don’t just render themselves into the ash beneath us — in reality, we’re still here, waking up every day, our hearts breaking for no one but ourselves.

I’m exhausted, burnt out from these four years. I come home, draw the blinds, fall asleep; get in the car, shut my eyes, fall asleep; go to school, walk into class, (mentally) fall asleep. Three weeks ago, feeling typically exhausted, I woke up with a headache, and while I normally would’ve sucked it up and gone to school, I decided to stay in and sleep in (with the permission of my parents). I woke up again at around 9 a.m., got dressed, and arrived at school for my second period class. For the rest of the day, I felt refreshed, rejuvenated, and untethered — like a lost kite sifting through the morning wind. And, later in the evening, I made up the schoolwork I had missed without issue and turned in all my assignments early.

This experience of skipping class has reminded me of the importance of prioritizing myself, my mental health, and my physical well-being over school. In these final few months before graduation, I’m forcing myself to remember that sleeping an average of four hours a night is a choice — not a necessity — and also a cause for early-onset dementia, as my mother loves telling me. I don’t have to wear out my body until it becomes a hollow shell of itself. I’m learning to take breaks; to put a pause on life; to sleep more; to read more; to hang out with my friends; to be a kite floating standstill in the sky, feeling the lilt of the wind against my shoulders, spectating the expansive world beneath. You may call this phenomenon “senioritis,” but I think I’m just learning to be nice to myself.

As I’m sitting here writing this article, I can’t help but think of all the recent moments that I’ve been able to remember better and enjoy more as a less sleep-deprived, less absent-minded person. Some snapshots: foggy windows. Winter formal. Puss in Boots with Sky & Vinnie & Robert. Pho & gossip with my mother. The soft glow of streetcars. My dented water bottle. Mr. Kim’s TikToks with his baby. Safeway runs with Aeron & Rosa. The realization that “Stats” is a palindrome. Fried chicken. Red kites. Friday night basketball games. WALL-E & Big Hero 6 debates in AP Gov. Me trying to prove to Rosa & Sally in AP Lit that Ophelia is a lesbian & the both of them not believing me. Ms. Welze’s plastic swords & Hamlet costumes. The downpour of weekend rain. Glass chandeliers. Pho with Melody. Hot Pockets with Sally & Sophia Y. & Karina. Pimple patches. White space. Perforations in Calc class. Journalism layout. Ms. Wetzel’s frequent usage of the word “slay.” 4 a.m. McDonald’s with my brother. Chopin. My broken foil. H periods with Audrey. Naps & naps & more naps.

My heart is mended and full of gratitude for these snapshots & moments & people. In the last three months of high school, I’m looking forward to creating even more memories, to opening my heart up to more fulfilling experiences, & to waking up. & for that, I’m thankful for my “senioritis.”