Recently, there has been an upswing in political activism regarding a very important on-campus issue. This problem, crucial to Duke’s continued stance as a front-runner in social justice and advocacy issues, has student activists up in arms and ready to do whatever it takes to bring to justice the—oh, f*ck it, I just don’t care anymore.
Over the course of the fall semester, I have noticed a disturbing trend towards apathy occurring in all aspects of my life. If we’re looking at it statistically, I’d say there is a negative correlation between the amount of time passed in my Duke career and the amount of f*cks I give. Some would call it “senioritis,” but because I like to make everything at least a little bit sexual, I prefer to call it “ennui-endo.”
Ennui-endo is a highly infectious disease that is growing rampant among the senior class. The main symptom of this illness is a general listlessness and lack of motivation for literally everything in life. Let me incept you and use myself and this very article as an example: Even as I type, I am struggling to find the will to write this article. I know I should care more, and I know I have to write it, and dear God, I’m already a full 24 hours behind schedule AGAIN—but somehow my body has grown totally averse to obligation, completing things by their respective deadlines and to work in general. Personified, I picture ennui-endo as a little mental Gandalf, standing in front of all of my work and screaming prophetically, “YOUUUU. SHALL NOT. PAAAASSSSS!!!”
Currently, I feel the same way about my workload and graduation as I did about Princess Peach towards the end of Super Mario 64: That b*tch isn’t even that fine, and all this sh*t is just not worth it. Accordingly, my levels of motivation and productivity have dropped to mirror those of a particularly lazy beta fish or maybe a sock. The only type of productivity that ennui-endo allows is mass consumption. Want to finish your homework in a timely manner? Not possible. Want to eat enough food to sustain eight Rosie O’Donnells and a small developing country for six weeks, all in one sitting? SOUNDS FANTASTIC I’VE NEVER FELT SO ALIVE LET’S GET TO IT.
As ennui-endo progresses, we begin to see signs of increased procrastinative creativity. It seems the disorder not only disables the brain areas responsible for motivation, but it also activates the part of your mind that invents reasons to not do work. Signs and symptoms of this advanced stage may include: sitting in the library for hours on end and accomplishing nothing, applying to jobs that you have no interest in (because I don’t want to look back on my life and regret NOT applying to clown school, THAT’S WHY) and, of course, procrasturbation. Also common is a sudden interest in out-of-character hobbies, such as knitting, overly aggressive potluck-ing or playing 10-year-old video games. But hey, even though I might not be graduating summa cum laude, at least my Sim is.
The sickness that is ennui-endo doesn’t just come into your academic life like a wrecking ball. No, it won’t be satisfied until it has shut down your social life like Republicans do governments. Before senior year started, I made plans to live it up. I was going to go on a food tour of Durham, to visit museums and parks and landmarks and, most importantly, to get drunk well and often. Newly 21, it was time for me to exercise my God-given right to get white-girl-wasted. As soon as I arrived on campus, however, I realized that going out is really disruptive to the serious, intimate relationship that I have with my bed.
An ennui-endo sufferer finds that when they do leave the house, they cannot tolerate any part of the social scene they’ve stepped out into. The only possible treatment for this reclusion is exposure therapy. Underclassmen, do your civic duty and remind seniors of the good ol’ days. Take your senior friends and lock them in a room for a weekend with a computer that only accesses Collegiate ACB, intra-frat listserves and the Duke Class of 2017 Facebook page. After this therapy is done, they will be excited to participate in all sorts of social engagement.
Yet in the end, not all cases of ennui-endo are curable. It seems that after a certain point, there is no cure. The best remedy to this campus plague may be prevention. So, for the good of Dukemanity, we must answer: What brought us here? Was it simply overexertion from 16 straight years of education? Or is it the fear of that streak ending—that after spending our whole lives doing nothing but learning, the reality that we must move beyond a classroom is too terrifying? Are we unconsciously forcing ourselves into apathy because of everything on our plate and all the newfound possibilities for failure and rejection in our future, because if we actually cared, it would be too difficult?
The fact of the matter is, I don’t know why I’ve got ennui-endo. And despite my inevitable decline in grades, productivity and non-Sim sexual partners, I find myself not really caring why. I don’t know, maybe someone who gives more of a sh*t can figure it out.
Lillie Reed is a Trinity senior. Her column is part of the weekly Socialites feature and runs every other Wednesday. Send Lillie a message on Twitter @LillieReed.