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Extreme disorientation among students

The following e-mail was sent from Ruth Harrison, Director of Health Services, to williams-students this evening:

Subject: Important Message from the Health Center

Dear Williams Students,

I want to inform you that recently a very small number of students have experienced bouts of extreme disorientation.

There is speculation that these instances could be related to recreational drug use. There’s insufficient evidence to be at all sure about this correlation, but given the importance of the matter, I thought you should know.

If you have questions about this or about any other issue of physical or mental health, please feel free to call the Health Center at x2206.

All the best as we head into the end of the semester.

Ruth Harrison
Director of Health Services

Would anyone else like to speculate on this matter? I have never before received such a strange e-mail during my time at Williams.

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#1 Comment By Anon ’89er On May 2, 2007 @ 7:50 pm

Maybe it is just that Spring in the Berkshires can cause a type of Stendahl’s Syndrome. Let’s hope so.

#2 Comment By hah! On May 2, 2007 @ 7:51 pm

Like anybody would call. I can just imagine it–“I’m suffering from extreme disorientation and suspect that it could be related to my recreational drug use. Could you help me?”

#3 Comment By [space] On May 2, 2007 @ 8:13 pm

Hmm, drugs at college other than alcohol and weed? I am, truthfully, slightly suprised.

But only slightly. Sounds like some kids got their hands on some wacky LSD or MDMA or somesuch.

#4 Comment By Anonymous On May 2, 2007 @ 8:22 pm

Maybe it has something to do with being “underconfident sheep.”

#5 Comment By frank uible On May 2, 2007 @ 9:25 pm

Despite my age, I understand about youthful feelings of invulnerability and desire for excitement, but one would think that students of the intelligence and stability of Williams’ sort would refrain from unduly abusing themselves.

#6 Comment By 04 On May 2, 2007 @ 9:48 pm

As long as there’s a call for speculatin’, I’d like to be the first one to start the rumor mill that Mary Jane Hitler and Creepy Boyfriend Shvern had something to do with it; perhaps Dr. Mengele poisoned the water supply?

#7 Comment By 0 for 4 On May 2, 2007 @ 9:49 pm

I’ve heard through the grapevine there’s a lot more cocaine use at Williams than you’d expect, and that there’s even more at Ivy league schools.

Benefit of privilege and wealth to burn, I suppose. Daddy’s BMW is only so much fun.

#8 Comment By Anonymous On May 2, 2007 @ 9:52 pm

I would think that people that are doing “recreational drugs” are expecting disorientation. Is that not the point of them? So I find it hard to believe that it is these people who are the ones complaining to the Health Center. I would more suspect these complaints to be caused by stress or panic-type attacks. It’s about the right time of year for that.

And yes, there is more than just alcohol and weed at Williams.

#9 Comment By current eph On May 2, 2007 @ 10:22 pm

Is pot considered a “recreational drug?” If so, from that email, I would guess that pot is the “recreational drug” in question. If people were showing up in the health center disoriented, and admitted to the possibility of coke/LSD/shrooms/something more serious as the cause, I would expect an email of a different tone from the Health Center.

#10 Comment By oy On May 2, 2007 @ 11:07 pm

Ho hum, Frank, “students of the intelligence and stability of Williams’ sort” — do you really believe this? We are a brilliant group because we are often unhinged, but not exactly stable. We are often stupid, but we are allowed to be, as students. I’m really glad that we are not just stable and intelligent. And you, please do not go around as a graduate quietly or necessarily stably either!

#11 Comment By Days’ed and Confused On May 2, 2007 @ 11:12 pm

Back when I was in school, there was only two major suppliers of pot for the campus (and I suspected they had the same “wholesale” source). If a local dealer procured laced weed, one might see a wave of disorientation-ish symptoms.

Or perhaps the infernal machine’s effect just took a while to become apparent.

#12 Comment By hwc On May 2, 2007 @ 11:32 pm

I’m just glad nobody smoked marijuana when I was at Williams. Not even at the Pink Floyd concert in Chapin Hall. I’m pretty sure that was just incense I smelled.

#13 Comment By Anonymous On May 2, 2007 @ 11:53 pm

people need to stop standing up so fast!!! extreme disorientation!!!

#14 Comment By Anonymous On May 3, 2007 @ 12:01 am

hwc: Yeah, but our weed is waaaaay better than yours.


#15 Comment By hwc On May 3, 2007 @ 12:20 am

I think I’ll plead the fifth on the question of whether the weed I didn’t smoke was or wasn’t better than today’s.

#16 Comment By frank uible On May 3, 2007 @ 12:42 am

It’s all relative. The denizens of the real world are so much less intelligent and so much less stable than the typical Williams student that the typical Williams student is made to appear absolutely intelligent and absolutely stable.

#17 Comment By Eric On May 3, 2007 @ 8:35 am

I can remember many bouts of extreme disorientation roughly focused around the Purple Pub and Canterbury’s, as well as more than a few row houses.

I can’t say for certain, but I suspect gravity behaves differently there. That’s my first guess. My second guess involves dwarfs, but I don’t have that theory fully fleshed out yet.

#18 Comment By Anonymous On May 3, 2007 @ 11:18 am

there’s a rumor on campus that it’s laced pot, which fits with the email’s tone and message.

#19 Comment By anonymous On May 6, 2007 @ 6:21 pm

Life is an addiction.
We struggle and strife to live another day. To thwart entropic forces where we learn to survive amidst the chaos. So why are sentient human beings, whose particle wave mass has the ability to be conscious of itself, is so easily distracted towards self-destruction (disorientation)?

Life is great.
Is there an established need for extreme disorientation? The Health Center claims “there is insufficient evidence to be at all sure about this correlation” reminds me of the state of denial that has become part of our entire culture. The inability to address reality.

To what extent will we avoid the unpleasantness associated with life through states of disorientation? Perhaps the struggle of life is a burden we seemingly are unable to accept.

Perhaps a distance learning community like the Extreme DisOrientation Center could be established. We could have “EphMobiles” as taxis take you there.