RATS Revamps for Stressed Students

At this point in the term, you might plop down at a desk on the fourth floor of the library and think about the paper that is due in 20 minutes. Or you might open your folder and see the midterm exam date gleaming from the syllabus for a class that you have gone to twice. Or maybe, just maybe, you just finished your grilled cheese from the café and you are looking forward to settling in for a nice nap. A stress nap, to be sure, but closed eyes nonetheless.

Lawrentians are well versed in stress. Three classes can feel like eight, and students are constantly looking for the next opportunity to boost resumes. It is a lot to handle. However, there is a new club on campus that succeeds in hitting the perfect trifecta: low time commitment, stress-relieving and resume-boosting. This group is Respectful and Tasteful Satire, better known as RATS. Their publication, which comes out once per term, is named The Lawrence Indifference. The club is in the process of revamping into bigger and better RATS.

Satirical expression, popularized in modern culture by publications like The Onion and TV shows like Saturday Night Live, allows people to express their serious opinions and dissatisfactions in a not-so-serious way. Satirical publications have yet to establish a strong presence on college campuses, with only a handful of universities in the US that regularly publish student-written satire. Yet, this kind of expression is perfect for modern college students, who have perfected the age-old humor defense mechanism to combat rising tuition prices and declining optimism.

At Lawrence, the RATS editorial staff is all female, though all genders are encouraged to submit. RATS is the ideal place to laugh about all of the stress on campus, in the country and around the world. Making fun of the bad stuff helps make things seem not so bad anymore.

I met with sophomore and Editor-in-Chief of RATS Nina Wilson on ravioli day in Andrew Commons. Throughout our lunch, not a speck of marinara dripped onto her white dress. She forked every drop of vegan red sauce with assurance. If that is not a testament to the confidence of someone who knows what she is doing, I am not sure what is. Wilson remarked, “[RATS] is a nice place for the campus body youth to have shared experiences.”

Wilson isn’t the only Lawrence Indifference editor looking out for the campus body youth. Sophomore Sydney DeMets explained that the publication is “a good way for people to laugh at themselves. For the campus body youth to laugh at themselves, more specifically.”

Wilson and DeMets agree that humor is the best coping mechanism—if not the best, then the funniest. The world is in shambles, people are denying climate change and we are all stressed out of our gourds. Put that stress to good use by imitating favorite Onion articles or thinking about the oddities of Lawrence. Unlike school, these pieces are ungraded expressions of satire.

Students that are part of the campus body youth are encouraged to take some time before having their fifth stress dream of the night and vent their frustrations into Respectful and Tasteful Satire. Submissions for the Spring Term edition of The Lawrence Indifference are due May 14, and can be sent to Nina Wilson (nina.wilson@lawrence.edu).