GSS and the Plight of the College Kid

In honor of winter break, and finals week being over, I’ve decided to post this little gem that’s been sitting in my drafts for quite some time now. (Naturally, it’s not finished.  As you will soon see is appropriate for this post, I got a bit busy and a bit distracted by school and never went back to finish it. Now I can’t remember exactly what I wanted to say.  Ahh, that GSS. It’ll get you every time.) :

Wellllllllll just in case it hasn’t been clear, I’ve been neglecting my duties as a writer and wanna-be blogger.  It seems that in the crazy course of events I like to consider as ‘life’, blogging gets pushed to the back burner as I attempt to meet all the deadlines that come with being someone overly obsessed with following deadlines.  I sometimes like to refer to it as the “Good Student Syndrome” or, “GSS”. (Don’t worry–I’ve never actually called it that. I just made that up.)  But it does seem like a pretty good way to describe someone like me–a workaholic, over-achieving nerd who craves the idea of being on top, even when that ‘on top’ is a little letter on a piece of paper that I’m paying $20,000 a year for anyways.

Having GSS means two things: 1) Your professors love you.  Even when they hate you, they love you. You make them look good. All in all, you are pretty much the tuxedo of students.  Sleek and eye-catching, yet stuffy and slightly uncomfortable.  (Still embarrassed about all those times you thought you knew the answer?  What about those extra, unnecessary hours spent mulling over details you later found out were irrelevant to the tests? Yep, good times.)  And 2) Your social life sucks, and you know it.  Between  studying, classes, homework, studying, discussing, student groups, studying, and eating, you feel like you hardly have time to breathe, let alone actually enjoy yourself. And the times you do spend away from a text book, you’re regretting it, thinking about all the different things you need to get done and could be doing at that very exact moment.  It’s torturous, and I’ve realized it’s a double-edged sword–you see, it doesn’t matter whether you are at home working, or out with friends, people suffering from GSS are always thinking about the “Other Option”.  The “Other Option” is the dilemma designed by the collegiate educational system to mess with student psychology and break us down so that we submit.  The “Other Option” simply refers to the fact that no matter where you are, you are unhappy.  (If this were Panem, the “Other Option” would be the work of Capital hands.) The scenario goes a little something like this:

Suzy is a student studying for a final exam. She has been sitting at her desk without moving from her chair for almost three days.  However, she is taking twice as long as usual to read her textbook and notes because all she can think about is visiting with her friends. Finally, as if by God’s will, Becky calls and wants Suzy to go to the diner with her.  Suzy, after a few minutes hesitation, agrees.  And suddenly, the darkness begins.  Suzy goes to the diner, but all she can think about is how much more work she has to do.  Soon, Becky is out of conversation topics and Suzy finds herself  discussing every last  assignment Suzy has had for the past month. Becky, trying to be the good friend that she is, silently listens and nods at the appropriate time, all the while thinking, “Why did I invite Suzy again? All she ever does is talk about school work.” And before you know it, Suzy is back at her desk, beating herself up on the inside wishing she would have found something more interesting to discuss, while Becky is thinking about how she needs to expand her social group.

Hence, the “Other Option.” No matter where Suzy is, she’s thinking about the other things she could be doing. In this case, while doing homework, she’s thinking about the diner. While at the diner, she’s thinking about homework.  It’s like a terrible mental monster that moves in under your twin-sized, dorm-room bunk-bed and never leaves.  It’s terrifying, and highly unattractive.  Let me tell you, between GSS and the “Other Option,” good luck finding love. Unless, of course, your life happens to play out like a Disney fairytale come true, in this case the perimeters being that you some how get locked into the library book stacks and ‘stud’ious   Prince Charming happens to need a book for his research project in the very same section you’re trapped in and comes to the rescue…unintentionally. Let’s not forget to mention that Prince Charming is probably also suffering from GSS, which means he probably doesn’t know how to feign interest in dating anyways.

Thus, the plight of the good student.  Sure we get straight A’s, and sure we’ll probably (hopefully) be CEO’s and top executives, your children’s professors, the person who invented that new contraption in your home that you simply can’t live without, the person who discovers the cure for cancer, that guy that won jeopardy, the woman who turned the world towards feminism, and the people who negotiated peace in the Middle East, but the point is, so will those students who don’t suffer from GSS. It’s all a mind game. The whole thing is a silly little mind game.  Don’t let it get to you.


And there you have it.  Appropriate considering the long nights of studying we college kids just survived, no?  Do you agree?  Do you also suffer from GSS and the “Other Option”? Let me know. Maybe we can start a help-group, but only after I get all of my homework for the next semester done, okay?


Yours truly,


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