Do your parents have to yell at you before you prepare for school in the morning? Is homework becoming optional? Playing video games rather than studying for that big exam tomorrow? Do you frequently leave school grounds in the middle of the school day? Are you a senior?

If you answered yes to more than three of the above questions, you have senioritis. And for more symptoms, check out this hysterical Buzzfeed article. These are among the many symptoms that show up every year and continue to plague many secondary school seniors. But don’t worry, you are not alone. Millions of seniors have contracted and are in the throes of senioritis — a fact that causes some to sleep uneasily.

The Merriam-Webster defines senioritis as: “an ebbing of motivation and effort by school seniors as evidenced by tardiness, absences and lower grades.”

This general feeling of apathy and nonchalance towards school work is developed after years in class and hits secondary school seniors hard around this time. It stymies their interest in learning, and they tend to slack off. They choose easier classes in place of rigorous subjects that are suppose to prepare them for higher institutions.

The general slogan is, after all, “THERE IS NO SS4.” However what most seniors fail to understand is that this stage of their secondary school is supposed to be taken seriously because of the various external exams they are bound to write afterwards.

Some students think “I’m done with secondary school. All I have to think about is higher institution, and secondary school just isn’t that important anymore.” Grades begin to plummet, leaving everything that took time and effort in tatters, all without a vestige of more than cursory care by students. Some might even find it so hard to get back on track when realities dawn on them after series of failed attempt in WAEC, NECO and JAMB exams.

The truth is, the attitude students imbibe in their senior years will stick with them into higher institution if they eventually get admitted.

Failure to live up to the expectations of higher institutions can have some grave consequences:

  • Rescinded offer of admission
  • Scholarships rescinded
  • Reduction in merit-based financial aid packages
  • Starting the admission search all over again

With those caveats in mind, that is just the tip of the iceberg. Failing classes and not producing enough credits during the senior year could be a huge setback to graduation.

To those who have been on track the entire way, congratulations. For those who are experiencing this virulent disease, all hope is not lost, and may this be a clarion call to do better. It is the start of 2014 and the academic night is still young. Good luck, and hopefully, we can all make it through together.