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Senioritis – A Constant in the Lives of Third Culture Kids!

 

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 would leave you with a sombre feeling? The time when you would 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? The time when you felt stuck in purgatory, waiting for your new life to begin and your old one to die? 

This is Senioritis. 

Senioritis often causes people to lean away.

In other words, they respond to their current situation coming to an end, by preemptively disengaging with it.

They stop calling their friends and they spend less time on their studies and their 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.

 

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Third Culture Kids and Senioritis

Having to move country often leads to 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 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 main cause of senioritis in TCKs is the stop-start nature of the Third Culture Kid experience. 

 

READ: PROPAGANDA OF THE PAST – THIRD CULTURE KIDS, CHILDHOOD MEMORIES & ATTACHMENT TO PLACE

 

What I am referring to is the act of going away for the summer and winter breaks. 

Many TCKs go back to their passport country during the holidays to meet with friends and relatives. 

This 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 to find their rhythm.

The distance between the passport country and the host country, and the difference in culture, creates a clear divide.

When a Third Culture Kid is in their passport country for summer break, they are unable to have an authentic connection to their host country despite being able to communicate with friends over the internet.

 

 

And vice-versa, when they are in the host country during the school year, they are unable to have an authentic connection to their passport country despite being able to communicate with family over the internet.

So, when moving between the two, during summer and winter breaks, it can feel like one life is ending and the other is beginning.

It is this that creates the senioritis in the Third Culture Kid.

The two-or-so weeks prior to leaving (either to their passport country or host country) is a very difficult time for the TCK.

They often feel like there is little point in pursuing life, in maintaining friendships (especially in making new friendships), in pursuing romantic relationships or investing time and energy in extra curricular activities or studies.

This passiveness is what causes the Third Culture Kid to become depressed. 

 

 

 

Next Article: How Growing Up Abroad Can Affect Mental Health As An Adult

Before I begin discussing the mental health aspects of a global upbringing, let me tell you that I am in the unique position of being able to see this issue from two perspectives, one as a psychodynamic therapist who specializes in analyzing… READ MORE

 

 

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