Dear Jack and Hannah, Due to a combination of lack of sleep and Adderall, my grip on reality has become increasingly tenuous. Given the number of surreal things that happen in college anyway, how do I differentiate between reality and hallucinations? Sincerely, Delusional in Dowling
We know what you mean. There’s this kid on our floor who wears a bowtie every single day, and sometimes we can’t remember if we’re in college or a Fitzgerald novel. And right now our RA is sitting next to us, unbuttoning his shirt and singing about orgo to the tune of Sheryl Crow’s “Soak Up the Sun.” Is this real life??!?!?!?!
Before you get too concerned, you should know that it’s a good sign that you’re not actively seeking hallucinogens. Your grades will thank you as well, because studies show that turning on and tuning in often leads to dropping out. More good news! Getting yourself off of the Adderall is easy! Just stop taking it. Unless you are one of the rare breed who actually has a condition and a prescription. Sleep, on the other hand, is a bit harder to come by. There are a million distractions, parties and spontaneous chunks of college life trying to cut into that precious time you have saved each day for a date with your pillow.
Doctors will tell you to prioritize sleep. But doctors would probably also advise against going through four late−night Blue Zones in a single week, so what do they know? Anyway, is there really so much of a difference between hallucinating and dreaming? Probably just some REM cycles or something, we’re not sure. What is real life but a series of hallucinations? Who’s to say what’s real and what’s not? Does it all even matter?
But we’re waxing philosophical here. You probably don’t need us telling you about the nature of the universe — that’s up for some crazy guys on the History Channel to decide. You want advice on discerning the reality of college life from stuff you’re making up in your own head. We do have a few surefire hints.
If you are seeing a good tailgate before the big game, or a Republican, you’re probably hallucinating. When you see the line for stir−fry in Carm, you may wish you were hallucinating, but probably not. That grade on your Diff Eq midterm is definitely not a hallucination. Sorry, bud. Maybe if you lay off the Adderall you’ll forget about it for a bit.
(You’re probably wondering why we haven’t brought up other drugs yet. Hannah’s mom reads this column, so not much we can do there. Hi, mom.)
Remember, though, that there are some things around campus that a non−Tufts student would automatically write off as figments of the imagination, such as a guy in an orange jumpsuit riding around campus selling cookies, large groups of people banging on buckets with clubs and enjoying it and people running around on broomsticks. Just remember to check with a friend and make sure that what you are seeing is in fact real, unless you’re imagining the friend in the first place. Having only imaginary friends is a separate issue, though.
Well, we’ve gotta go. The alpaca in our common room wants his quiche back. *Do you know what’s definitely not a hallucination? Our emails are at the bottom of this page! Look! They’re for real! Remember, your queries are always published anonymously.