By Dylan Smith
So, here we all are.
Another school year has come to a close and the overwhelming madness of scholarly existence has suddenly dissipated with it. There are no more papers to write, presentations to give, tests to take or nauseating group projects to do, and you’ve found yourself hitting the brick wall of boredom inherent to summer vacations. For some of you, summertime is full of smiling women, cold beers, misty rivers and barbeques, but, if you are anything like me, these are times of isolation and magnified depression, ultimately coming with a price: an overwhelming sense of insignificance and lack of purpose.
In essence, the price of summer “freedom” is as an existential crisis. For those of you that do not know what an existential crisis is, but have the misfortune of feeling unusually aware of your presence in this bizarre world, the concept should be easy to grasp. Generally, an existential crisis is a mental breakdown, brought on by a traumatic event, providing a substantial shift in lifestyle or habit (e.g. summer vacation).
This is a specific form of psychological collapse with equally specific symptoms, ultimately causing an individual to question whether or not their life has any true purpose or value. When in the grips of a crisis of this caliber, you may feel secluded, uncharacteristically mortal, and have a general sense of overbearing self-awareness as you search for life’s meaning. If you are currently in the grips of this type of introspective nightmare, there is nothing I could ever write that would help you. You’re already fucked.
This article is for those of you who feel as though you are on the edge of societal sanity, flirting with the possibility of plunging into a self-aware dejection. You, my friends, have the potential to be saved. I have created this short list of things to avoid when on the verge of an existential crisis in an attempt to guide you through these summer months. However, I will admit now, that I have absolutely no formal familiarity with psychology. This list is derived purely from personal experience. Good luck to you all, not that it will make any difference.
When you wake up in the morning and the hangover beats down on your head, your lack of purpose will grow exponentially. But, also avoid sobriety at all costs. It has been proven impossible to handle an existential crisis in a lucid state of mind. One must drink alcohol to excess to survive.
Avoid nature or other peaceful environments
Beautiful landscapes will make you feel even smaller and insignificant. But, also avoid cities and suburban neighborhoods. The general melancholy dispositions of those around you will only make you recognize that you’re not alone in your meaninglessness. All life is essentially damned to the same unknown fate.
Avoid hanging out with friends from High School
They will remind you of how little progress you’ve made throughout college thus far and force you to face the reality of your stagnation. But, also avoid making new friends. They will make you realize that everything you care about will eventually die, making day-to-day life even more depressing.
Avoid going to church
You will come to realize that the most historically accepted form of coping with existential dilemmas has been just another elaborate hoax, highlighting your feelings of doom. But, also avoid not going to church. The superstitious guilt that has been bred into you as a child will be too much to bear and you will surely fold under its weight.
Avoid reading pretentious, self-absorbed articles on how to avoid existential crises
You will come to understand that everyone, even the people supplying content in the media and promising the answers to your biggest questions, is completely full of shit.
Dylan Smith studies Marketing. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.