The malaise of Reading Week and Finals this past January at Princeton University has exacted even greater of a toll than usual on the minds and bodies of its students. For members of the residential college Forbes, especially, a change of habits has left tens of dozens in wheelchairs and in need of intense rehabilitation.
Forbesians, who actually live farther away from the center of Princeton’s campus than most Rutgers students, typically find themselves in transit, whether on foot or by bike, for roughly three and a half to four hours per day during the semester proper. When reading week and finals roll around, however, the Forbesians enter deep into hermitage and rarely work up the gumption to leave the building. “There’s really just no reason to ever go outside,” said sophomore Gavin Divan. “There aren’t any classes or anything, there’s a dining hall in the building, and none of us really have any friends.”
This sharp decline in physical activity led to about 86%, a 27% increase over last winter, of the population to suffer from muscle atrophy, or a wasting away in muscle due to lack of use leaving its victims unable to walk, stand, or even gently play footsies with their roommate.
Many of the residential college’s sophomores were prepared for Reading Week after having already experienced one January of sheltered depression and took preemptive measures, scheduling daily 2 ½ mile walkathons from the annex to the new wing and hourly Yoga and/or Pilates sessions in the dining hall. The college office also pitched in to help fight the annual calf-disintegration festival by renting two dogs and a guinea pig for the students to play with. Master Michael Hecht even brought in his own dog, Caspian Omega Underfoot, with the hopes that somebody might actually look past its mind-bogglingly strange name and pet it despite the fact that it bears a startlingly creepy resemblance to him.
Despite all these preparations and a winter that has been exceptionally warm, record number of Forbesians have been found crippled this year. This is likely due to the fact that the class of 2015 Forbes Freshmen are “seriously, like lazy as fuck,” says Phyllis Rosenbaum, Forbes college secretary and Guinness Book record holder for most e-mails without any actual content sent to people who couldn’t care less in under twelve minutes.
Freshman Linda Wang, as the only outsider who ever actually goes to Forbes on a regular basis, was able to give unique insight into the phenomenon. “I could see them wasting away more and more every day, and I tried to warn them about it,” she said. “The only responses they would give me were always along the lines of: ‘stop talking to us, we don’t know you,’ or ‘seriously, who are you and how do you keep getting into my room?’ They just wouldn’t listen.”
Fortunately, Intersession Break, which was instituted in 1972 (shortly after the 1970 conversion of the Princeton Inn to Forbes College) in order to combat the Forbesians’ muscle degradations by forcing them to go home for a week has proved effective at promoting recovery before the start of the spring semester, as 35% of the victims returned in full health.