So, spring break. Pretty crazy, huh? Not that I really remember what happened, of course. Somewhere between listening to Jewel on repeat and waiting for the phone to ring, I sort of lost track of everything.
Well, anyway, it sure is good to be back at school. You know, back to lonely nights in the library, sitting by yourself in the cafeteria, and above all, being united with 40,000 students by a single phenomenon — bacne. Erm, wait — I mean stress. Partially due to a physics experiment gone terribly awry, the academic pressure is back on. Luckily, a recent New York Times article explained that it isn’t just those of us here at the University who are feeling overwhelmed. According to the Jan. 26 article titled “Record Level of Stress Found in College Freshmen,” the emotional health of incoming students has dropped to the lowest level in the last 25 years.
What’s really concerning isn’t the fact that an entire generation is sinking further and further into a seemingly endless depression with rampant abuse of prescription drugs spreading faster than STDs within the cast of “Jersey Shore.” Nah, that’s not really a big deal — certainly not worth investigating anyway. The real issue? No one seems to know precisely why this nation’s college students are huffing paint chips. “We don’t know exactly why students’ emotional health is declining,” John Pryor, a research program director at University of California, Los Angeles’s Higher Education Research Institute, told The New York Times.
Well, I don’t know about you — hey, maybe we should change that, perhaps over dinner later? No, wait, the generational depression thing. Right. It’s all over campus — walking through Angell Hall on a Monday morning is like navigating through a crowd of hungover Eeyores. The point is we must ask ourselves — why are we so stressed? What’s the cause of this widespread unhappiness? And how quickly can we deport all these ‘depresshmen’ to Ohio?
The most obvious answer to this permanent state of gloom and doom is, of course, MTV’s remake of “Skins.” It was an innocent enough idea — a chance for American television producers to once again capitalize on British brilliance, replacing dry humor with Nascar jokes and cracks about fast food. But unlike successful remakes of shows like “The Office,” “Skins” is one of those trainwrecks you don’t actually want to watch at all, but are forced to because your roommate bought the TV. And after being in the room for the first five episodes of the show, I completely understand why American college students are one step away from jumping off that ledge. We suck at the one thing we’re supposed to be good at — television. Without the accents and strange British euphemisms, the show really just became a pornographic circus of nipple talk and smoking pot off someone’s nipples, which I didn’t think was possible. As a direct result, everyone hates America, and we’re forced to deal with it.
It could be Charlie Sheen too. For years, it’s been pretty obvious that dear Charlie is the man — if his acting on “Two and a Half Men” doesn’t scream brilliant, I don’t know what does. But in recent weeks, Sheen has gone from that wacky uncle with drug problems to that wacky uncle who snorts cocaine off the turkey at Thanksgiving dinner — and by turkey, I mean porn stars. It’s hard for college students to live up to the standards set by one of the highest paid actors on television — how can we possibly be happy with ourselves as we watch Sheen calmly explain on CNN that he has “a 10,000-year-old brain and the boogers of a 7 year old?” It just isn’t fair.
We may never know the real answer as to why we’re so stressed. Maybe it’s Miley Cyrus hosting “SNL.” Perhaps it’s the straight-to-DVD release of “Mean Girls 2.” Or maybe it’s the fact that today’s college students face high unemployment rates and skyrocketing tuition prices — not to mention climate change, worldwide civil unrest, costly wars, obesity, rising threats of terrorism…
Sigh. But really, did you see Miley? Her impression of Lindsay Lohan? God, talk about depressing.
Melanie Kruvelis is an LSA freshman.