The following is based on a recent report to the office of the Surgeon General, and addresses the strange and unfortunate surge of illnesses at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, Marketing Communications program.
Summary of Findings
5 December 2012
Educational institutes have always been ground zero for virulent outbreaks. Students with poor eating habits, too exhausted to maintain an appropriate level of personal hygiene, interact daily on what is essentially a bacterial playground. BCIT is no exception.
Curiously, almost all illnesses at BCIT first present with caffeine jitters. These may start out as typical jitters in early September, but by December anyone who doesn’t get their morning fix can be found scampering around campus picking up pennies until they have enough for at least a small cup of dark roast. If Clapton had attended BCIT, the song would have been called Caffeine.
Perhaps most bewildering of all is that students suffering from caffeine withdrawal often turn to energy drinks. These drinks only enhance their symptoms and lead to longer, more intense penny collecting episodes.
A survey of the Marketing Association’s Communications Committee uncovered cases of insomnia, headaches, shortness of breath, back and neck pain, and sexual frustration. Kevin Murray, a second year Communications student, attributes the appearance of strange facial hair to his Financial Management midterm, and worries that by final exams he may be suffering from a full blown case of hypertrichosis, a.k.a werewolf syndrome (look it up; it isn’t pretty).
While Murray’s hair has proliferated, many other male students report rapidly receding hairlines. An alarming number of female students claim that their hair has simply stopped growing. Hair stasis is both strange and worrisome, and has medical professionals scratching their heads.
Emotional distress is so prevalent within the marketing communications program that students who claim not to be distressed are actually quarantined in an airtight plastic tent behind NE1 for psychiatric evaluation. Curiously, the appearance of this tent has not caused any alarm among the students, most of whom seem to believe that the world simply ends beyond NE1.
The average number of times MarComm students have been sick in the past three months is four. This is, for lack of a better word, ridiculous. These episodes may consist of anything from vomiting to bronchitis to chest pain. Obesity among BCIT students is increasing at a rate twice as fast as that of the U.S., and the past three months has seen a record setting spike in night terrors and panic attacks. Last month, second year Communications student Brittany Beaupre reportedly bolted from a direct marketing lecture and was found two hours later hyperventilating in a bathroom stall where she had wrapped herself in three rolls of toilet paper, apparently to muffle the screaming.
Memory loss is also a growing concern. Efstratios Engel is just one of many students who have wandered into class wearing the previous day’s clothes, with no memory of the preceding twelve hours. Most students admit to erratic sleep cycles, sometimes going more than 30 hours without sleep before crashing for two or three hours behind a vending machine in SW1 at four a.m. on the run from campus security.
Chelsea Brynildsen, another second year student, related how her eye twitched for three days straight during midterms. When it finally stopped, she found herself unable to stop sighing. Remarkably, she seemed unfazed by these occurrences and was promptly admitted to the tent behind NE1.
All of these bizarre symptoms can only be attributed to an insane course load, extracurricular activities, and the insistence marketing students have about carrying on some sort of social life at the same time. BCIT MarComm students are somehow all at once the most resilient and most sickly group of people in the history of post-secondary education.
Words: Graeme Ward
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