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Senioritis – A constant in the lives of Third Culture Kids

What is Senioritis?

Remember senior year? Those last 9 months of school when everything seemed completely meaningless? The time when the mere act of walking through the corridors of your school could leave you with a sombre feeling, the time when you could hear your friends laugh all day long and still feel sad because you knew it would end in only a few months and that some of you would go off to college thousands of miles away? And the feeling of being stuck in purgatory, waiting for your new life to begin and your old one to die? – This is senioritis.

The most common symptom of senioritis is the act of leaning away. We respond to the fact that our current situation will come to an end by preemptively disengaging with it. We stop calling our friends, we commit ourselves less to our studies and to our work. Most people suffer from senioritis during their last year of school or when they’re changing jobs. Third Culture Kids however, experience senioritis every year.

Third Culture Kids and Senioritis

Moving country is the most common catalyst for senioritis. Knowing that in a year, or six-months down the road, you’ll be in a different country, having to make new friends and start school from scratch, tends to force most Third Culture Kids into a prolonged state of passiveness. That combined with the reality of losing dear friends, not being able to return to one’s favourite restaurant or losing one’s childhood home for that matter, can become so overwhelming that it paralyzes the Third Culture Kid.

Same goes if it’s a friend that’s leaving, or if we’re leaving a pet behind, and also during graduation of course. But perhaps the most frustrating catalyst for senioritis is the constant stop-start nature of the Third Culture Kid experience. What I am referring to is the act of moving away for the summer and winter breaks. Many TCKs go back to their passport culture during the holidays to meet with friends and relatives over there. This repeated segmentation of life (host culture four months, passport culture two weeks, host culture four months, passport culture three months) leaves no room for Third Culture Kids to settle down and find their rhythm. The three-or-so weeks prior to leaving for one’s passport culture is often fraught with a sense of meaninglessness, new friends will forget you, love interests will too, school is soon out and new routines are out of the question.  


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