Horrid disease hits campus community

By John Doe

An unfortunate scourge has sprung its roots and reared its indifferent head on our sleepy Rochester campus.

It strikes its victims not physically, like most afflictions, but emotionally, rendering them apathetic toward even the most appealing of events.

The indifference they show toward their chosen place of higher education reflects poorly on themselves and the institution they hope one day will be printed on a piece of paper and handed to them at commencement. If they care enough to attend. We’ll see.

Although everyone may not know it by its scientific name (commutis apathetico) or even by its colloquial name (Commuter Apathy Syndrome), all of us here have seen its effects on our campus, have had friends and loved ones affected by it and/or have been afflicted with it ourselves.

“I have always strived to have as little contact with my school (Oakland University) as possible,” said one junior business student, who based on this quote seems to be nearing Stage V of Commuter Apathy Syndrome (CAS).

Our field reporter had to violently bang on the window of his 2006 Camry in order to wake him from his between class slumber.

“My goal every semester is to literally spend as little time as possible on campus throughout the semester,” this particular CAS victim continued.

Like many disorders the first step to treatment is to admit that there is a problem. When a well involved (or at least non-comatose) person confronts someone believed to be struck with CAS, they are often met with responses that vary from “Why would I care about OU, I’m transferring soon anyway” to “I am too busy working and going to hang out at other schools.”

These are the words coming out of the mouth. However, the thoughts behind these words go more along the lines of “Yeah, I would talk to you, but I have to go sleep in my car and think about how much it sucks not having any friends at college because I am too busy not being involved.”

One of the misconceptions about Commuter Apathy Syndrome is that one must be annoyingly involved or visible on campus in order to combat the symptoms, when this is quite obviously not true.

“You do not have to wear OU clothes, be president of six student organizations, and have coffee with your professors everyday in order to be considered CAS-free. From our preliminary studies it seems that victims see better social health after just joining one student organization or quitting their dead end off campus job and getting a job on campus,” one expert on Commuter Apathy Syndrome said.

Generally people are considered to be clean from CAS if they bring something to campus other than just the SUV their parents bought and a negative attitude.

Experts also say that CAS is a spectrum disorder, and that early detection is key.

“Normally if we see a student stay apathetic even during their freshmen year Welcome Week, then there is a high chance they will develop a chronic case of the syndrome.”

Cases can range from mild cases of students who may not know the name of every building by the time they graduate, to the severe cases of students who are literally not known by anyone else on campus.

At commencements they can be recognized as the ones walking across the stage with complete indifference toward the institution where they spent the last four phlegmatic years.

“It is sad when you have a student walk across that stage and literally not one other person knows who they are. There was a guy from my psychology class who showed signs of the plague: MSU hoodie, complained a lot about various OU topics, always referred to going to hang at other schools or back home,” Mike Longley, a recent Psychology grad and CAS survivor, said.

“Yeah, my first year here I was pretty much a ghost. I had no friends at Oakland, and pretty much looked forward to going home after class to play Xbox Live. On the weekends I would pretty much work and hang out with my friends from high school. Junior year I quit my job at home and worked on campus. One thing led to another and by my senior year I was going to basketball games, on the e-board of a student organization, and spending as much time on campus as at home. I just wish it had happened sooner.”

The disorder is also causing a prejudice commonly held with resident students that commuters are not involved and bring nothing to the campus environment.

This is another debilitating aspect of the syndrome: all commuters are seen as not being involved, when in fact, many of our student leaders and involved students come from the ranks of students who do not call the Residence Halls or student apartments home.

“The fact of the matter is that although CAS is hurting our campus environment, not all commuters are affected. This is blatant misnomer which needs to be addressed,” another expert on Commuter Apathy Syndrome said.

Many who are angered at our commuter population for the ravages of CAS may forget the syndrome’s just as nasty cousin: Resident Hermit Disorder (RHD). RHD is the equivalent of CAS and forms its epicenter on the residential portion of our campus.

Students afflicted with RHD are rarely seen on weekends, and during the week are in an even sadder state than the victims of CAS, considering their proximity to campus makes it easier to cure their raw passivity.

So what does this mean going forward for the fine campus of Oakland University?

As mentioned earlier the first key is combating the denial of CAS and RHD which is nearly always shown by the afflicted. Early detection and frequent events will also help. Increased student housing and stronger sense of pride and community can be long term goals.

That said, at the end of the day the burden rests with those who have these involvement disorders. We are in charge of our level of involvement, and consequently our happiness during our days here at Oakland.

The choice is to the student: car naps or campus life?

Editor’s Note: The writer requested their name be withheld due to their campus involvement.