The Epidemic of Skipping: Does “Senioritis” Start Sophomore Year?

“I never just skip because I’m bored; I skip when I’m mentally not feeling great.”

Courtney Kloss

Starbucks, bathrooms, parking lots, basements: it might seem that anywhere is better than class with many B-CC students choosing to skip.  However, the phenomenon cannot simply be attributed to “senioritis” or a lack of motivation.

“I never just skip because I’m bored; I skip when I’m mentally not feeling great,” said an anonymous senior. Mental exhaustion is commonly cited as a reason among seniors when asked about skipping. The effort it takes to apply to college while maintaining good grades and adequate extracurriculars can be overwhelming. And once you’ve been accepted to college, burnout can occur when it becomes difficult to focus on high school and continue putting in the same amount of hard work you once did.

To compound the issue, it has become the norm within MCPS for students to miss class without little to no academic repercussions. Some students can both acquire good grades and skip class frequently. “I’ve learned to keep up my grades while being able to skip school, and because of this, my motivation to go to school has decreased,” said another senior, adding, “Sometimes it just helps me focus better when I complete my assignments in my room and not in a classroom.”

But when this senior was asked if she believes a lack of motivation or “senioritis” starts earlier than senior year, she mentioned another reason that digs into a not-so-new factor that has contributed to more skipping: COVID-19. With no teacher physically present to hold them accountable, students became less academically honest and motivated during COVID-19. “It was so easy to say, ‘Oh sorry, my internet crashed,’ or other technical difficulties to skip online class,” another student claims.

“Students not turning on their cameras was a major challenge of online school,” said Ms. Lansell, adding, “Teachers weren’t able to see if students were engaging in the lessons and doing their assignments.”

This was the sophomore year for our current class of seniors, and the motivation struggles continued to carry over into their junior and senior years.

“After doing fewer and fewer Zoom classes, I realized I could skip in-person school too,” said an anonymous senior, also revealing that she most likely would not have started skipping class until a senior year if it weren’t for the pandemic.

The county is also partly responsible for the increase in skipping class, as there are no repercussions for missing instruction. “The MCPS policy used to be that you get five unexcused absences and fifteen unexcused tardies before losing credit for your classes,” said Ms. Lansell. During the virtual school year, these policies were erased and have yet to be re-established across Montgomery County. MCPS is revisiting its attendance policy (covered by the Tattler here); however, they have not announced their intentions yet.

So, is Covid the source of more students skipping class? It’s difficult to know for sure, but as long as there is senioritis in the air and academic exhaustion among students, truancy will continue to increase.