Senioritis: A tale of affliction told from the Grotto’s porch


Melisa Soysal KildaresMelisa Soysal /THE REVIEW
The Grotto’s porch is a favorite senior hangout.

At the intersection of the North Green and Newark Deli and Bagel, between the Frisbee-throwers and the midday breakfast-goers, lies a not-so-secret hideaway where the perils of procrastination meet the memorable misadventures of daytime intoxication.

Grotto Pizza, located on 45 E. Main St.—a destination as central to the student bucket list as the kissing arches—is nothing short of a Newark staple. As one of the most frequented spots amongst the university’s “21 and over” crowd, it enjoys a booming business fueled, in large part, by one elite group—Delaware’s senior class.

A haven for Happy Hour enthusiasts and a home to both day and night drinkers alike, Grotto’s customers come for the pitchers and stay for the good times.

During the spring months, the porch, which sits in front of the restaurant’s red, brick-lined façade, sees a sharp increase in attendance from last-year students—most of whom are succumbing to the same curious case of spring semester senioritis.

As younger students power-walk to and from class with a backpack and a takeaway coffee in hand, seniors can be seen sitting nonchalantly in their seats, sipping on a cold cup of Rolling Rock while singing along to the tune of Van Morrison’s “Brown-Eyed Girl”.

“From April through the end of May, we’re very busy on the patio,” Grotto’s manager Emily Dryer said. “The day drinking definitely picks up during the weekdays as senioritis starts kicking in.”

Senioritis, a crippling affliction known to strike students in their final year of college, is often characterized by a lack of studying, repeated absences, an affinity for day drinking and an all-in-all dismissive attitude. According to Urban Dictionary, the only known cure is a phenomenon known as “graduation.”

With their last semester fleetingly approaching its halfway point, seniors often elect to shelve academic obligations and, in their place, grab a cool $2.25-bottle of Coors to accompany an order of Grotto’s locally-renowned Loaded Sidewinder fries.

For seniors Dieter Bahr, Joe Dipre and Jared Ginsberg, senioritis has taken the form of a pleasant Saturday afternoon spent on the Grotto’s porch—their fourth time this week.

“I probably come to Grotto’s about twice a week on average, if not more,” Bahr, a civil engineering major, said, raising his cup to his mouth. “I’m not taking many credits at the moment, so there’s no complaints here.”

For many of these seniors, the thought of schoolwork has faded into the rearview, making way for their post-graduation plans.

“I think the fact that you know it’s going to be your last semester ever in college as an undergraduate makes you really want to make the most of it,” Dipre, a finance major, said. “I’ve heard a lot of people saying that they go drinking a lot, maybe even four or five times a week, but they only get to do this once.”

These trips to the porch, however, come at a cost. With more allocated towards spending their remaining time with friends, it becomes all too easy to neglect readings and research papers, amongst other assignments.

“I’m just trying to keep my GPA at an equal level,” Ginsberg, an environmental science major, said with a shrug.

However, senioritis can influence people differently. Depending on factors like the course rigor and total credit load, the extent and severity of senioritis can vary wildly. With that being said, according to Dipre, the effects of senioritis are inescapable.

“It’s definitely a real thing,” Dipre said. “It probably affects some people more than others, but it’s definitely a real thing and it affects everyone.”

Importantly, according to Ginsberg, senioritis can provoke not only an academic burden, but a financial one. Continued, loyal patronage to Grotto’s, as it turns out, can begin to add up.

“I’ve probably spent more than $600 this semester at the bars,” Ginsberg admitted.

Bahr and Dipre, on the other hand, echoed smaller figures of roughly $300 each.

“I’ve had more than one night where I’ve woken up and seen that my bill at Grotto’s has been $40,” Dieter said.

This sudden, seasonal rise in Grotto’s revenue, however, is neither unique nor new. Senioritis on the Grotto’s porch has a longstanding history here in Newark.

“I’ve been in and out of the store for eight years now, and it’s definitely a consistent trend,” Dryer said. “We see a large increase in business during the later months of the year with students, especially the seniors.”

So, if you plan on crossing off a trip to Grotto’s before kicking the collegiate bucket, it would be wise, ironically, to plan ahead.

“The patio is a big draw for us,” Dryer said. “Everyone competes to get the 20 seats that are out there.”

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