“Senioritis: (noun.) A crippling disease that strikes high school students. Symptoms include: laziness, an over-excessive wearing of track pants, old athletic shirts, sweatpants, athletic shorts, and sweatshirts. Also features a lack of studying, repeated absences, and a generally dismissive attitude” (UrbanDictionary.com).

This disease has affected nearly every senior, spreading through the grade like the Black Plague. When first semester ended, chants of “Last day of school! Last day of school!” reverberated through the hallways as students tossed their homework in the air and chucked their backpacks into a bonfire. For them, school was already over. No more need to scrawl out lab reports during lunch, copy math homework during study hall, or cram for reading quizzes before class starts.

Only one student has managed to rise above this epidemic.

Sporting collared shirts and ties instead of her brother’s old sweatshirts, senior Fatema Haque is one of the hardest working students in the disrict. Unlike the rest of the seniors, Haque remains determined to maintain her academic performance. Her secret to staying focused? Food. “My biggest motivator is hummus,” Haque said. “Every time I bring home an A, I get a tub of hummus, which makes my pita chips very happy.”

In order to earn her reward, Haque maintains a tight, busy schedule. Each morning, she eats extra hummus for breakfast, energizing herself for the day ahead. She works hard in all of her classes and receives straight A’s. Her favorite class is also one of the most difficult: culinary arts, a course that both challenges her cooking abilities and allows her to eat delicious food with her friends. During study hall and lunch, while all of the other seniors are busy chatting or sneaking juniors out to buy coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts, Haque works on homework, always completing it ahead of time, leaving no extra schoolwork to worry about when she gets home. Even after a tiring day at school, Haque has no time to rest. She goes straight to work. She comes home at late hours to go to bed, but not before spending prolonged hours studying the anatomical structure of the Venus flytrap, her favorite plant. Asked what time she goes to bed, Haque replied, “Time is not real. It’s a human construct. I go to bed when I feel like it.”

So what makes Haque alone immune to senioritis? One possibility could be the numerous health benefits of eating hummus frequently. Another could be the preventive measures she took as a child to resist the sickness. “I have parents who love me enough to get me vaccinated against moronic diseases,” Haque said.
For the seniors who have already caught senioritis, it’s too late to get vaccinated. However, senioritis is not incurable. With a positive attitude and the right motivation, it is indeed possible to snap out of it.

“Take pride in your actions,” Haque said. “Don’t be a follower. I work harder because I take pride in my food choices; it keeps my brain happy.”

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