The Claremont Colleges have once again returned to their normal levels of late semester crippling stress and anxiety after the last month saw the student population in the firm grasp of an unexplained phenomenon.
The administration is still unsure what to make of the situation which was characterized by a large swath of the student population, disproportionately male, participating in aberrant, hyperactive behavior, characterized by amongst other things, a strong desire to clean.
Kara Phillips PO ‘19, who witnessed several of her male friends, going through the affliction, recalls not thinking much of the problem at first. “They just seemed really alert and focused” she notes, thinking back to the beginning of November. “I thought that was pretty natural given that we’re getting close to the end of the semester.”
She recalls the day, a week or so later that this focus and alertness, turned toward obsession. “I just remember entering my friends’ suite in Dialynas and being surprised by how clean it was.” Noting that her friends are “pretty big slobs” she was impressed to see that all of them had done a thorough job cleaning up the space, even putting a nice varnish on the floors and decorating with a lovely centerpiece that “really brought the room together.”
Things turned strange, however, when her friends offered to clean and decorate her room as well. “They got really adamant about wanted to clean my room, as if they had to cure this insatiable urge. My friend [Eric], seemed to be on the verge of tears when I turned him down.
Around this time in the month Megan Stevens CMC ‘21 also noticed that her friend Michael seemed to be unusually emotional, recalling a moment when she attempted to sit with him during lunch in Collins, but deciding against it when she noticed he was staring longingly at the cantaloupes in the fruit display and mumbling something to himself. Though she couldn’t hear what was being said, she could make out the word “daddy” being said repeatedly.
Mellissa Traeger who works in Student Wellness thinks a lot of this emotionality and irritability can be chalked up to the stressful environment of the colleges. “College can be emotionally taxing on everyone.” She notes that male students especially, may have a tough time as they are not allowed the space to be vulnerable by societal norms. Traeger believes that this type of behavior reveals, just how many students are bursting at the seams with emotional anguish and are desperate need of release.
She went on to elaborate about how her own son in high school also seemed to be struggling this past month taking note of a how after a particularly long day, he just shut himself in his room for “what felt like hours.” When he finally emerged, he seemed “much more at ease.” Her son wouldn’t say if anything was wrong, but Traeger concluded that the large amount of Kleenex used probably suggests that he had be crying quite a bit.
“Even though he didn’t open up to me at that time, Traeger stated, “I’m just happy that he was able to get that load off.”
In other news, Facilities has received a litany of maintenance requests regarding clogged shower drains throughout the colleges. No word on the cause, but the CUC administration will continue to monitor this sticky situation.