In Case of Crisis

You may have noticed that Hoyas are experiencing a particularly intense mid-semester grind, or scholar vortex, this year: hordes of our classmates have gone dead behind the eyes from lack of sleep, countless Burleith and north campus residents are currently lost in the construction labyrinth, and the entire pre-med department is one broken keurig away from utter devastation. Perhaps by now you’re starting to rethink the whole concept of higher education, or maybe of modern society all together. The good news is there are alternatives if you feel you’ve made a huge mistake. Here are just a few options:

 

  1. Be a lighthouse keeper. If you’re looking to flee the stress of college life, why not do it in the most poetic way possible? The United States Lighthouse Society has options for you all over the United States, including Alaska if the tundra is your thing and Key West if it’s not. Just imagine: peace and quiet by the ocean, taking care of the light that protects all of the sailors. You can be the benevolent master of the sea! With some occasional gift shop duties.
  2. Be a fire lookout in a national park. Are you intrigued by the thought of stewarding the forests, and totally over interacting with other humans? Then perhaps you should consider spending a summer as a fire lookout. Appointments range from a few weeks to a few months of blissful mountaintop solitude, perfect for becoming one with nature or, if you’re Jack Kerouac, attaining enlightenment and writing an awesome book about it. The Forest Fire Lookout Association can help you find the remote hut that’s right for you.
  3. Join a commune. Consumerism got you down? Can you not even with all of this private property? Then live in tune with the land and your fellow humans in an Intentional Community. There’s one in Virginia only a few hours from campus called Twin Oaks Community. Contribute to this utopic society’s income by weaving hammocks or laboring in the tofu hut (I am completely serious). You’ll have plenty of time and opportunities to pursue your passions, especially if those include peace, the environment, anti-racism, and feminism.
  4. Stay at the sloth sanctuary. I shouldn’t even have to explain the appeal of this one. There are sloths. You get to hang out with them. Especially one named Buttercup, who appears to be running the sanctuary. Tragically, they closed their volunteer program last year to focus on more rigorous scientific research, but you can stay at the bed and breakfast on the sanctuary grounds. You and a friend can sleep in the Johnny Depp room (again, not joking) for $100. And you can get a tour of the grounds with (led by?) Buttercup.

 

See? No need to feel suffocated by the man — trade in your textbooks for a baby sloth (or possibly a manual on lighthouse operation) and free yourself!

 

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Why are you still sitting there? This could be you. [Image courtesy of Twin Oaks Community]

Sick Day

Sick Day Movies

Being sick over the weekend in college is probably one of the most irritating and annoying experiences one can suffer through here at Georgetown. You don’t feel well enough to go out and do something with friends, but you also are not capable of slogging through your mountains of homework for the week. Thankfully, there is one thing you can do for fun while living in the quarantine zone of your room: watch “sick day movies.” Here are five movies that would love to keep you company while you recover in isolation; they will not judge you and will not avoid you like the plague.

1) Bloodsport (1988) – This action flick stars Jean-Claude Van Damme as a US Army Captain who goes rogue in order to compete in the Kumite: an illegal full-contact martial arts tournament in Hong Kong to which the greatest fighters in the world are invited. With a great 80s soundtrack and plenty of unintentionally hilarious moments, this movie will have you laughing at the cheesiness in between your fits of coughing.

2) Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) – I first saw this film while delirious and suffering from the chicken pox back in first grade, and ever since then it has been lodged in my mind as a “sick day movie.” In Pierce Brosnan’s second outing as super-spy James Bond, he must stop a media guru from instigating World War III in order to boost his network’s ratings. Yes, that sounds utterly ridiculous, but the film has a certain kind of charm you can appreciate in a sickly mental state: from James Bond driving his car in a chase via his pre-touch screen cell phone to jumping over a helicopter with a motorcycle, this movie has plenty of cool moments that will cheer you up.

3) Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) – Hear me out on this one. I know this is not a good film and is still one of the internet’s favorite collective punching bags, even 15 years after its release. But when you’re sick and just don’t give a damn, this film is rather fun. You have two fantastic sequences (the podracing sequence and the three-way lightsaber duel at the film’s climax) surrounded by engaging attempts at world-building and pseudo-racist caricatures. When you’re sick and could not care less about Jar Jar’s presence, this film has enough pretty visuals and cool music to keep you entertained when you are just feeling completely out of it.

4) Cinema Paradiso (1988) – this Italian film follows the life of a young boy named Salvatore and his involvement with his town’s local cinema, which serves as the backdrop for much of the heartache, tragedy, love, and excitement throughout his life and molds him into the adult he is by the end of the film. Famous for the “kissing scene” montage at the end of the film, Cinema Paradiso is one of the few films that can make even hardened grown Italian men cry. Tonally it various between lighthearted comedy and passionate dramatic romance. The film touches on themes of love and growing old that everyone can relate to, particularly when confronted with the evidence of their own mortality brought on by illness.

5) Madagascar (2005) – this animated comedy follows four animals from Central Park Zoo (voiced by Ben Stiller, Jada Pinkett Smith, Chris Rock, and David Schwimmer) that are shipwrecked on the island of Madagascar. This film is an animated feature that is a love letter to cinema, often referencing or paying homage to other classic films in some not-so-subtle ways. While many of the references and jokes may have gone over your head as a child, watching the film now will be an enriching experience as you pick up on things you never noticed before. Plus, the film has four penguins that act like secret agents straight out of Mission Impossible, and that is never a bad thing.

BONUS ROUND: Hugo (2011) – “Tell them your roommate says to watch Hugo. It’s a trippy film to watch while sick. The robot comes to life or something.” I never saw Hugo but my roommate demanded I put it on this list, so if you find this to be an inadequate “sick day film,” take the issue up with him.

 

Image Credit: Buzz / Flickr

Clinton @ Airport

One Second of Eye Contact, A Lifetime of Memories

I’ve just ordered an iced coffee in the Ronald Reagan National Airport, and I turn around and am assaulted by the pure energy of former Senator, First Lady, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. I am in shock. What is the reason for her just waltzing through gates 35-39 of Reagan National? Beats me. But I didn’t question it. It took a moment for my brain to connect the dots: I was in the presence of a (potential) 2016 presidential candidate, and one of my IDOLS. I could feel her energy. Her posse of security moved like a school of black-suited fish, swishing around her to and fro as she glided down the terminal. She happened to be wearing yellow that day; she was like a beacon of light. And just as suddenly as she walked into my life, out she went. I teared up. Here I was, iced coffee in hand, jaw on the floor, tears in my eyes. I had to tell someone. I had to tell everyone! I texted my roommate. I texted my parents. HELL, I EMAILED MY HIGH SCHOOL AP GOVERNMENT TEACHER.

When these things happen, my people, cherish them. Washington D.C. is a beautiful place filled with efficacious and impactful people, and you are included in that bundle. We all may not be as noticeable as the radiating Hillary Rodham Clinton, but trust me, we’ve still got a little something going on. Rock it out, Georgetown.

This coming to you from Megan Howell, who one day hopes to make people randomly cry in the airport.

 

Image Credit: ABC News

Gangnam Slam

COME ON AND SLAM IF YOU WANNA JAM – My Trip Into the World of r/comeonandslam

THE INTERNET HAS WON, FOLKS! Guess what Reddit has? They have a whole subreddit devoted entirely to popular songs remixed with Quad City DJ’s’ classic hit “Space Jam”, termed “Slams” by the artists. Fan of The Killers? Check out Mr. Brightslam. Star Wars fans will feel right at home with “Slam of the Fates”. “Slam the Casbah” with The Clash! Just about every song from a major video game has been Slammed already. The community is active enough to have put out five posts on the day of writing alone.

 

Is this real life? How can this possibly be A Thing Which Exists And Is Also Not a Joke? Space Jam, to say the least, was not aiming at iconoclasm with its release in 1996. A bizarre marketing fusion involving Looney Tunes, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, and a cast of all-star basketball players, the film was strange to say the least but popular enough in its own time that 90s generations have canonized it alongside Moon Shoes and all of the other surreal phenomena of the time. Any of us who were alive during the 90s might, then, recognize the Jam when it sets upon us, but r/comeonandslam has taken things to a transcendent level.

The Slam reveals the depths of a fandom-not-as-such, a collection of semi-or-fully-ironic Slammers and Jam appreciators who have built and now fuel this absurdist fire. Most of the Slams are not “good” per se, but rather entertaining purely as a function of their very existence. Classic tracks like “My Slam Will Jam On” from the box-office smash Tijamic are not necessarily musically coherent, fun to listen to, or even appear to have taken any effort. This is a medium that hinges entirely on concept over form – the art lies in the simple, unbelievable fact that someone thought to do this thing and combine these songs and photoshop Jordan and Barkley’s faces over Leo and Kate.

We can browse r/comeonandslam with one eye cringing from the lazy, cacophonous remix and the other gleaming in a 90s-zeitgeist fever dream, repulsed by the butchering of fantastic songs and enthralled by the notion of Slamming every piece of music ever produced. There’s the catch, though: this project isn’t quite intentional and doesn’t aim at depth or complexity. Right there, in the title, is the self-referential, self-sustaining directive: Come on and Slam. The commandment handed down from Quad City DJ’s has moved many on the interwebs, and will be eternally upheld by its apostles. Everything must Slam, in the end.

Extreme Couponing is More than Just a TV Show

Guilty pleasure TV shows are what keep me sane. When my life is at the worst, and I can’t see the light at the other end of midterms, the hopeless (read: desperate) romantics on The Bachelor, convinced that they can find fairytale-style love in a contrived game, give me a sense of purpose that I can’t normally find. I can say, “At least I am not jumping off of a building with a man I just met who will go on a date with 25 other women tomorrow.”

Extreme Couponing

As the popularity of reality TV has skyrocketed, there has been an increasing demand for following the lives of people who live outside of the norm. I’m thinking specifically of shows like, Hoarders, My Strange Addiction, or Extreme Couponers. I never really thought twice about them.

And then after finding that Extreme Couponers is one of the few shows you can watch during 3 AM bouts of insomnia, I was suddenly considering why people live that way. Though not nearly as dedicated as the savings mavens of Extreme Couponers, I actually have a friend who can be found collecting coupons almost on a daily basis. It’s really her way of survival. She has a young daughter to take care of, and the combined income of her and her husband is simply not enough to sustain a basic standard of living. So, she coupons.

And damn is she good at it. I know this because she features all of her finds on her Facebook wall. Sharing with her friends unbelievable savings where a $300 shopping trip costs barely $20. Of course, you can see the pitfalls of shopping by couponing. Organic food is rarely on a two-for-one discount and you are more likely to be able to buy processed food in bulk than the fresher ingredients. But, it makes me wonder if a few hours spent coupon searching could forever change my bi-monthly Safeway visits.

As she is friends with other single mothers or people who just need to save a bit more, Alexis realizes how many people may need to rely on couponing, and that others might not have the knack for it that she does, or the time to spend learning the surprisingly intricate and complicated system. So, she offers lessons. Nothing formal, but she explains to people where to looks for deals, how to combine them, and then how to repeat your success over and over again. Her informal class actually follows a pretty effective business model for success, when success manifests in a lifetime supply of cleaning products and peanut butter. I would stress the value of the peanut butter over the cleaning supplies, she might disagree.

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March on Georgetown for Mike Brown

“This is not a moment, this is a movement” a leader addressed the hundreds-strong crowd in Foggy Bottom through a speaker system mounted on a handcart. I was surrounded on all sides by other protesters carrying signs bearing the message “STOP RACIST POLICE TERROR” or listing the names of the innocent black dead.

The National Black United Front, along with the American Muslim Alliance, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and the Answer Coalition, held the March to Georgetown for Mike Brown in solidarity with the people of Ferguson on Saturday night. Organized protests don’t often choose Georgetown as a site of dissent, despite the fact that John Kerry, Madeleine Albright, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and countless other major political figures all have homes in the neighborhood. The object of the group’s efforts on Saturday was less political than it was economic: until serious action is taken regarding the systematic violence against people of color in this city and this country, the NBUF and other like-minded organizations will continue to disrupt commercial centers with nonviolent protest. The Georgetown march is the latest action in a series that was sparked by the murder of Michael Brown. Other protests have taken place on U street, in Chinatown, and Adams Morgan. And they plan to continue.

I marched in solidarity with the cause, along with at least a dozen other Georgetown students, and around two to three hundred other protesters, from the Foggy Bottom metro station to M and 34th street. Wondering why there was so much traffic that night? That was us. As protesters walked, NBUF members led chants like “Justice for Michael Brown; A racist cop shot him down”; “We young, we strong, we marching all night long”; and the now-familiar “Hands Up — Don’t Shoot.”

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The group occupied key intersections like Wisconsin and M streets, to the evident exasperation of gridlocked motorists, who did not take kindly to some protesters leaving our designated lanes to wade through the traffic. Some taxi and bus drivers honked and cheered, though, and smart phones were ubiquitous. NBUF has clearly organized with an eye towards social media — chanting was interspersed with requests that the photos and videos uploaded by spectators be tagged #dcferguson.

By and large, the march was a success: both major economic arteries of Georgetown were effectively shut down, and the demands were clearly articulated at multiple points along the way. In brief, those demands are the arrest of Ofc. Wilson, the establishment of a civilian review board of the DC police with subpoena power, de-militarization of the police department, and a full review of all DC police killings since 2004. These acts of civil disobedience are highly organized and completely legal; the protest even had a police escort the whole way.

There will be more opportunities to be a part of positive change in DC: a rally and march on the White House will take place on November 1st.

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Spoilers Part 1: The Spoiling

The Internet is a place full of spoilers, and I have spent a lot of time online doing my utmost to avoid them in any show/book/movie that I am involved with. But some wonderful people online have been persuading me to jump camps recently and I think I’m ready to make the switch. I will not go quietly (or screaming, as the case may be) away from spoilers into the night, TODAY IS OUR INDEPENDENCE DAY etc etc

Rethinking our hate spoilers means we need to figure out just what it is about them that bothers us so much. In personal experience, I have usually avoided spoilers in order to preserve plot points and narrative twists that would be way more impactful in their original context. Thinking back, my paranoia began after I had the major turning point of *Bioshock* revealed to me in a preview piece about *Bioshock 2*. It seemed as though I had missed out on an emotional connection with that particular scene that other players had formed. As my friends can attest, my fear of spoilers in A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones has been vocal, violent, and zealous.

Aside from the exposure to the plot rollercoaster, there aren’t too many reasons to stay away from spoilers – and, as a growing number of media theorists are finding, there might be some compelling reasons to actually embrace spoilers. PBS Idea Channel’s special on spoilers, for instance, breaks down an intriguing new theory that suggests that having knowledge about elements of a work before viewing/playing/reading it can actually aid in understanding and analysis of that work. My *Bioshock* playthrough, though lacking in the blindsiding plot twist department, probably ended up feeling more coherent and well-developed than a lot of people’s first runs.

Prior knowledge of something that goes on in a text results in more attenuated readings of that text and the particular elements that you know about. For instance <SPOILERS> knowing that Atlas was actually Fontaine the whole time and being aware of the whole “would you kindly” business helped me find all the cool foreshadowing and layered narrative elements that stack up to the eventual reveals </SPOILERS>. After all, a plot twist only works once, and the real thrill of a text is how you get from point A to point B, even if you’re fully aware of both points. How else would historical dramas and/or biopics work? We all know the story of Lincoln’s life, but we went to see the film because of Daniel Day-Lewis and Spielburg and everything else that made it a good experience.

Todd VanDerWerff over at A.V. Club wrote a fantastic piece on spoilers (SPOILERS FOR BREAKING BAD IN THE FIRST SENTENCE OF THAT ARTICLE BTW), noting some of the things I’ve outlined above while attacking more directly the problems with making plot twists the most valuable parts of a work. He makes a great point in that most people wouldn’t complain, for instance, about having a particularly good tracking shot in a film “spoiled” for them, even though they might sprint out of the room at the mention of a small plot point. Arguably, the film’s cinematography and other aesthetic elements are just as, if not more, important than preserving the first experience of a twist, but spoiler culture says the opposite.

Doesn’t that seem a little ridiculous? Just because we all know who Luke’s father is and whether or not Luke finds that to be impossible and oops where did his hand go doesn’t mean that we can’t revel in those beautifully crafted moments in *The Empire Strikes Back*. Spoilers in the internet age are more omnipresent than ever, and it would be a tragedy to stifle discussion about media texts in an effort to save people’s first viewing experiences. We should definitely respect the wishes of those who would prefer uninfluenced first readings/viewings/playthroughs, but maybe we could all do with a little more lightness on the matter. Who knows, maybe the spoiler will make you enjoy the experience that much more.

What do you think? Do you hate me forever for putting spoilers in this article? Are people who fear spoilers ridiculous? Drop us a comment below.

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Double Take; How Do We Responsibly Respond To ISIS

Recently, I came across an article in the New York Times that stopped me dead. Entitled “U.S. tracks citizens joining ISIS”, it revealed how many Americans were joining the organization and how the U.S. was responding. Though we know what ISIS is doing, and though we are beginning to respond, we are not sure what the long-term plan should be. This article, and two passages from it in particular, provided a much-needed opportunity for discussing in a critical register how we are responding now; and once we can do that, we can begin to form a more coherent idea of what our responsibility here could be.

The first quote that struck me in this regard was:

“The F.B.I.’s psychological analysts at Quantico, Va., armed with court-approved powers, are increasingly monitoring the activities of Americans who have expressed extremist views in jihadist chat rooms and on websites.”

Instantly, I reacted with feelings of unease attached to the notion of a surveillance state. However, on closer inspection, I found some solace in the fact that the F.B.I. is keeping tabs with increased intensity on Americans who “have expressed extremist views.” This means that the F.B.I. is not keeping a closer watch on anyone who visits a jihadist chat room or website. People compiling research, say, on jihadist psychology themselves and visit appropriate chat rooms and websites as voyeurs are not going to be regarded with suspicion. Those who are being seen as conspicuous are not, as far as this article tells us, citizens who want to stay informed, curious to see how the other half thinks. Those whom the F.B.I. is watching are the other half, those expressing extremist views, presumably sympathetic to the aims of ISIS.

And yet, with all this in mind, the feeling of unease persists. Why? Because this is the qualification on increased F.B.I. surveillance for the time being. What’s worrying is what may come next, especially when we realize how ambiguous the term “expression” is in an age of media sharing. There are subtle forms of participation – for instance, if I share the video of James Foley’s beheading, am I expressing jihadist views? Am I propagating ISIS propaganda? We must have some sort of solid basis for discriminating between expressions of terrorist support and attempts to stay informed about a terrorist group and understand their character.

(And yes, the quote reads that the F.B.I. does this with “court-approved powers” – but are these courts open to the public? Will we have a say in where the line is drawn between one half and the other?)

And the second quote, found at the end of the article:

“New attention was focused on ISIS on Thursday when The Washington Post reported that the group had waterboarded at least four of its Western hostages. The hostages were tortured in other ways as well, American officials said, but the waterboarding disclosure was considered significant because the practice was used during the George W. Bush administration on detainees held in the fight against terrorism.”

We know that ISIS has waterboarded Western hostages; we also know that the group dressed Foley in Guantanamo Bay attire for his beheading. There is a definite system of symbols here, within which is a message aimed at the United States. And this language is horrific, using as it does the destruction of human lives as signs and signifiers. But the proper attitude towards these atrocities cannot be censorious. We must pay attention to what ISIS is communicating to us, which means that we must stay informed. The trouble is: if we feel that we could be judged a threat for viewing material disseminated by ISIS, if we feel that our search for information might be misjudged an expression of solidarity with terrorists, then we will be living in a cultural climate that actively discourages understanding. If we are to form an idea of what a long-term course of action in response to ISIS crimes should be, then we have to feel free to look at many sides of the situation without worrying that we’ll be put on some sort of list.

 

Image credit: Video still via NBC News

 

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Book Lists and A List of Books

In case you have not noticed, I am quite the fan of making lists. This trait extends far beyond my presence here on The Independent’s blog, and is actually something that is present in my life on a day to day basis. From shopping lists, to homework lists, to lists of things I need to organize a list for, the idea of the list is central component to my daily functioning. Yet my favorite of these lists is my reading list, my organized collection of what books I read when in college, something that will undoubtedly be of great importance and use to my future self.

But why a list of books I’ve read? After all, don’t we have bookshelves and www.goodreads.com for that? There is a distinguishable quality of self-satisfaction that emerges when one commits pen to paper to record our literary successes. Not quite perverse, there is a clear sense of accomplishment and triumph when one looks down and sees the title of a book and its author written under the glorious header of “Books Read During [insert season] [insert year].” The reader has claimed ownership not of the novel, but of the time spent reading it. Years from now, we can look back at this moment and say, “Yes, during this time of my life, I embarked upon this collection of literary adventures.”

To provide a visualization of this phenomenon, here is the list of books I read this past summer:

  1.     William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope by Ian Doescher
  2.     So Much to Do: A Full Life of Business, Politics, and Confronting Crises by Richard Ravitch
  3.     The Spy Who Loved Me by Ian Fleming
  4.     In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson
  5.     Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  6.     A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
  7.     Looking for Alaska by John Green
  8.     One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  9.     Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
  10.  The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
  11.  Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn
  12.  Dark Force Rising by Timothy Zahn
  13.  The Last Command by Timothy Zahn

Actually possessing a physical list you can look at not only provides the pleasure of recording and marking the time with these novels, but also allows you to easily ensure you are reading varied assortment of literature. It also provides an easy way to compare what you have read at different times and challenge yourself to read a greater quantity of more complex works. But most of all, it is just a fun way to mark out your intellectual swim in the sea of boundless literary canon.

 

Image credit: az / Flickr

Christos Kotsakis / Flickr

The Five Stages of Coursework Denial

 

Stage 1  – Willful Ignorance:  The first, and most common phase of procrastination. Observed subjects are frequently seen socializing, consuming foods, watching videos on YouTube, or contentedly scrolling through Facebook. Most do not exhibit any physiological signs of stress or concern and behave as though no danger is present.

Stage 2 – Passing Concern: Subjects entering the second phase begin to show signs of distraction in whatever activity currently occupies them. Chats become more frantic and newsfeeds scroll aimlessly and erratically as the looming work begins to infringe on the subject’s worldview. Subjects have been seen to communicate to their peers, saying that they are “So totally fucked for Econ tomorrow, bro” or “Definitely working on that paper but just going to watch some OITNB first”.

Stage 3 – Intense Stress: After the first two phases, which are characterized chiefly by their capacity to redirect focus, subjects must confront the presence of approaching deadlines. Responses at this stage are extremely varied, but all subjects are seen to exhibit severe physical disturbances ranging from tears to severe sweat, and reach for some source of comfort, as with many subjects’ purchasing of yogurt-covered pretzels or candy bars. In their varied states of panic, most subjects remove themselves from potential social situations, isolating themselves in cubicles or classrooms and avoiding contact on social media.

Stage 4 – Caffeine-Induced Productivity: Though closely related to Stage 3, the fourth stage appeared in a large enough sample of our subjects that we thought it relevant to deem separate. This stage, though not always exhibited in subjects, takes a firm hold over any that do exhibit its symptoms. Seemingly unsatisfied with the speed of their work, Stage 4 subjects quickly move to vending machines, coffee houses, or markets to purchase large quantities of caffeinated beverages. The choice of beverage appears to largely arise from the preferences of the individual subject, but weather conditions seem to influence consumption patterns as well. Subjects rapidly drink their coffee, energy drink, or other fluid of choice, apparently increasing the speed of their typing and/or reading. Actual increased productivity remains a contested issue, as some subjects spent significant time taking repeated trips to restrooms.

Stage 5 – Existential Despair: The deepest and darkest phase of the courseload process, students enter Stage 5 as they suffer through multiple consecutive hours of work in the late evening or early morning, with deadlines rapidly approaching. Here, subjects seem to lose control of motor functions which normally support their posture and social consciousness shuts down, leaving them in a slumped state, isolated from the world. Subjects entering Stage 5 from Stage 4 typically experience a severe caffeine crash, sometimes accompanied by headache and serious lack of focus. Many considered consuming more of their chosen beverage but instead reported concerns that “There’s no way I’m paying another $5.40 for a pumpkin spice latte” or “I think four Red Bulls is probably too many in one day.” Subjects deep into Stage 5 may leave cryptic statuses on social media networks or email their professors asking for last-minute extensions. Exiting Stage 5 is a complicated process that involves, for many subjects, one or more of the following: finishing the work, claiming “Fuck it, it’s good enough”; extended periods of sleep; extended periods of alcohol consumption; consumption of a comfort food, frequently macaroni and cheese mixed with a healthy dose of regret-flavored Burnett’s.