It’s a cold, harsh world out there, literally and figuratively, and in these trying endless months of winter we avoid any encounters with the blistering wind at all costs. Whoever said stepping out for a breath of fresh air is the cure for anything clearly has never stepped foot in the piercingly frigid climate of Syracuse (or interacted with its inhabitants whose personalities reflect such weather). Whether you’re avoiding the bitter cold, the TA of the class you skipped, or the kid you hooked up with down the hall like a plague, or you’re avoiding the actual plague that is the flu, these outside conditions have confined us to our dorms, apartments, or houses. Tomorrow, we tell ourselves. Tomorrow I’ll make it out doors. But countless “tomorrows” have come and gone, and now you’ve lost track of the days. Time is measured by the last time you changed your underwear, and you begin to think it might have been too long since you’ve seen anything but the four walls of your room.
Most of your human interactions are with deliverymen.
The other human interactions consist of conversations with yourself, and occasionally your roommate if he/she hasn’t moved out already. But there’s nothing wrong with that, because it’s exactly how God GrubHub has intended for us to get in our daily doses of conversation. *Requests for side of compliments in special delivery instructions.*
You’ve learned to cook gourmet meals solely using contents from the vending machine.
Times got desperate and the deliverymen began reading a little too much into how often you order, flirting in the doorway while you’re signing for the food. Even though you can get into most dining halls with barely having to go outside, there’s still a high risk you’re not willing to take of being haunted by your one night stands of weekends past.
You get judgmental looks from the janitors.
So what if your morning routine occurs in the mid-afternoon? What’s it to them if you haven’t changed out of your pajamas since yesterday? You could be doing extremely productive things in your room up until now for all they know. But you’re not, because “catching up on sleep” is only considered productive when you’re actually tired and not in need of an activity to do. These judgmental looks begin to emotionally affect you, so you figure out their cleaning schedule and train your bladder accordingly. Only when it gets really bad do you begin inquiring about a port-a-potty to put next to your mini-fridge.
Hopes and dreams are continuously crushed with each e-mail refreshment that doesn’t show a professor cancelling class.
While you see your friends at every other school getting off for a snow day regardless of how much snow is on the ground, you feel a glimmer of hope that your class will be cancelled because everyone else is doing it. But this is Syracuse, where professors have some kind of inhuman ability to never get sick, to travel through various dangerous weather conditions, and probably time and space—which would explain so much. It’s actually in their tenure contracts that the only viable excuse to cancel class is if the world is ending, which is why so many professors gave their students the day off after Trump won the election last semester. After realizing the world isn’t coming to an end anytime soon, you text all your friends in the class asking if they’re going, to which they all respond no. So by default, class is basically cancelled and you go back to bed.
Relationships with distant relatives are reestablished.
After you’ve realized you skipped more classes than you’ve actually gone to, you log onto Blackboard to check your attendance grade to find it’s dropped more dramatically than your IQ does while watching an episode of The Bachelor. These unexcused absences are in need of obtaining an excuse, and you panic until you remember your dad’s uncle’s cousin’s wife is a doctor. Despite the fact you haven’t spoken since taking a tequila shot together at your second cousin’s wedding two years ago, you call her for a note that’ll explain your lack of attendance since syllabus week.
You’ve taken drastic measures to adjust to the lifestyle.
“Watching TV is a large aspect of it,” explains a senior who hasn’t seen the light of day since the last tailgate. “You can’t get picky here, especially when your parents change the Netflix password on you,” she elaborates. “But be wary of emotional content because they almost always evolve into extreme sadness of feeling sorry for yourself.” Excessive amounts of money have been spent on taking the necessary measures in preventing contact with the outside world. Maybe you’ve invested in an elaborate mechanism that allows you to smoke inside your dorm without getting caught by your RA by eliminating the odor. Or you’ve ordered a hospital bed that prevents bedsores.
You’ve run out of ways to justify yourself.
No, telling people you went to the gym does not have the same effect as physically going to the gym. Physically going to the gym doesn’t even have any effect whatsoever unless you Snapchat it. Conversations with yourself just aren’t as stimulating as they used to be, and levels of concern about your well-being rise faster than your family’s phone bill. Your friends begin to file into the room for an intervention. Just like Grandpa Joe being magically cured of polio when Charlie presents him with the golden ticket, your friends bribe you outside, probably with food, and a musical montage of a snowball fight ensues in slow motion while the credits roll and the screen fades to black.
Stay tuned for the sequel when you catch the flu as a result of your immune system being down from such little activity the past weeks.