Warrior Words: The slump

Picture this: two weeks into the New Year and my feet are still dragging.

Actually, don’t picture it; most of the early-morning commuters of Wilton have probably snatched a glimpse of me behind the wheel of my maroon 1996 Camry, wearing sunglasses and a wrath-of-god scowl. I’m not a big fan of any sort of movement these days, and this includes driving, rolling over in bed, turning the pages of a book, and writing words with a pen. As far as my well-being is concerned, all of these activities remain strictly out of the question, but it seems that reality begs to differ.

Is this the senior slump that so many high school teachers fear? Forgive me for the cliché that has probably graced the pages of this newspaper if I so venture to respond with: Yes. Yes. It is exactly that.

My AP Literature teacher, the deeply respectable and hilarious Dr. Richard Vogel, claims not to believe that such an affliction even exists. Senioritis, to him, exists as some nebulous myth reigning from the lips of desperate high schoolers in classes past who’ve used the diagnosis as some kind of temporary shield against responsibility. In a way I actually do enjoy this perspective. Imagining the senior slump in the same way one might dream up an urban legend casts a humorous shadow on the deeply disturbing truth that almost every high school senior lives out each day. Just think of it — you spend all day in a place that denies the existence of Bigfoot, and then at the end of the day you come home and he’s sitting right there on your couch, chewing on a throw pillow in plain sight. With a sigh, you sit down and join him for dinner, and when the sun rises the next day, you pass a slumbering Bigfoot in the hallway, head back to school, and do it all over again.

It should be said, however, that I completely respect Dr. Vogel’s stance on the issue. The senior slump truly does represent an illogical behavior to the extent that one might as well not believe in it. It makes hardly any sense as to why I might want to procrastinate on a crucial essay which bears a strong significance to the grade that my dream college will undoubtedly see, and yet if you were to join me on the spiritual journey that was my paper on Archibald MacLeish’s existential masterpiece J.B., you would spend many hours watching me do anything except write. Why, when the spotlight is affixed to us most harshly, do we not feel like working hard?

If I could answer that question, I’d probably have my own TED Talk, or I’d at least be able to finish work on time. Either way, waking up in the morning would become far less of a chore. On his sole guest-star appearance on The Dick Cavett Show in 1969, Jimi Hendrix responded to a question about his level of productivity with the phrase: “Oh, I try to get up every day.” Beyond any myth or actual affliction, let me at the very least say that this statement speaks volumes.


Tyus Southern is a senior at Wilton High School. He shares this column with four classmates.