June 30, 2010

Coping with GWGS (Graduate Student Withdrawal Syndrome)

I was sitting in chair with my headphones on listening to Mozart reading the book "Guns, Germs & Steel" on my iPad when I looked up. I felt like I just came out of some kind of hypnotic trance.

"Where the hell am I?" I asked myself.

I realized that I was at the "Seattle's Best" cafe at Borders, a frequent stopping ground for me when I was a student at UCLA. As of two weeks ago, I was no longer a student at UCLA, which begged the question: what the hell am I doing here? Shouldn't I be at bar somewhere in Manhattan Beach, or watching TV, or doing anything except reading books at bookstore? Better yet, how the hell did I even get here? I don't even remember driving here!

I suddenly realized that I must be suffering from a debilitating illness known as GSWS or Graduate Student Withdrawal Syndrome. Symptoms include:
  • Insomnia
  • Frequent subconscious trips to Borders, Starbucks, or the Library
  • Sudden cravings for coffee, soda and McDonald's
  • Irritability followed by confusion followed by more irritability
  • Excessive use of Facebook
  • Going to a corner, curling up into a fetal position and crying
  • More crying
  • Needing to want to make senseless and drastic changes in your life
  • A little more crying
I couldn't believe it. Had I really contracted this mythical disease? Was there any hope of recovery? Could I possibly ever give up Caramel Soy Lattes? These were just a sampling of the questions that raced through my head.

I decided that I had to beat this disease. If I didn't, it would consume me... whole, and I'd be destined to a life akin to the man with the orange stapler in the movie "Office Space". But, how?

And then it dawned on me...