Adulting with Erin: The senior scaries

By Erin Bothwell | March 28, 2018 7:50pm
by Annika Gordon / The Beacon

Move over, senioritis. With graduation drawing closer by the day, what many of us now deal with is a case of the senior scaries. While senioritis is a (potentially contagious) infection with symptoms consisting of not giving a darn, extreme procrastination and general soullessness in the classroom, the senior scaries is the state of being terrified/excited/terrifyingly excited about graduation. But never fear, Dr. Erin is here. (Note: Erin is in no way a licensed medical practitioner). 

The senior scaries may manifest with symptoms similar to senioritis, but it is important to note the key differences between the two. Senioritis looks a lot like apathy. Senior scaries look a lot like panic.

If you suspect you or a loved one has either senioritis or the senior scaries, perform a simple diagnostics test. First, ask a question about how their classes are going. If they groan or their eyes go dead, then your loved one is indeed affected by senioritis. Next, ask a question about their post-grad plans. If they look all deer in the headlights-y, and the color drains from their face, then your loved one has a case of the senior scaries. 

Keep in mind it is possible to feel both entirely done with school and anxious about graduation. We don’t always have to understand why to know humans are complicated. Like when you watched “Get Out,”weren’t you confused and a bit on edge, before you knew why everyone was acting so strangely? You know something was wrong before you knew exactly what it was. 

It’s okay to visibly freak out a little if you think your loved one’s soul has been stolen and replaced by a black hole during their senior year (senioritis). It’s not okay to visibly freak out if they’re already freaked out (senior scaries). Three lefts may make a right, but two freaked out people do not make anything. Except a scene. And a reason to support the legalization of recreational marijuana. 

The cure for senioritis and the senior scaries is the same. It’s time. It takes time to finish the dreaded classes, graduate and process life after college. 

Fortunately, you don’t have to wait for time to pass to make your loved one feel better. In the meanwhile, we have treatments. Depending on the extremity of the senioritis or the senior scaries, speaking with a counselor may help. In mild to moderate cases, loud music and impromptu dance parties often provide temporary relief. 

For variety, try to partake in activities our fellow seniors (senior citizens) stereotypically enjoy. Tai chi, water aerobics, eating ice cream in the park, afternoon naps, playing cards, feeding birds on a bench and drinking cocktails (in moderation) are all fine ways to treat senioritis/senior scaries. 

I first noticed the senior scaries my senior year of high school when I started to replay this Christina Aguilera song in my head. The only lyrics I knew were “I am terrified.” And I’d just think, yup.That’s me.Terrified. (The full line is actually, “I am terrified to love for the first time,” but whatever. I relate more to the theme of general terror than love-induced terror). 

And here I am again, round two. Everything more or less worked out the first time around, so my fingers are crossed the senior scaries will go away once more. Of course, my brain will probably concoct another fear to replace it (I highly suspect there will always be something to fear), but I’ll cross that bridge later. Maybe you will too.