When visiting other universities, I notice a very different atmosphere than the one that encompasses Lawrence.I know of a lot of students who are considered to be depressed and go to counselors or doctors for relief. We’re all familiar with the stereotype regarding the high quantities of Prozac distributed by Health Services. Let’s face it; Lawrence is a depressing place with seemingly depressed students.
A major cause of this depression, I found when discussing it with fellow classmates, is the pressure to excel academically. A main reason to go to college is for a purely academic experience.
However, students need to release some of this pressure, and Lawrence does not allow for enough outlets to do that.
There is no cable for students to relax and watch television, listening to music while working out is prohibited (even though music is conducive for exercise, and exercise can help improve depression), and the recreation facilities with which to exercise are suggestive of reducing physical activity.
There is one elliptical machine for all 1200 students. Elliptical machines are the technologically new exercise devices, and usually occupied at Buchanan Kiewit.
The facilities at Alexander are better, but only varsity athletes are allowed to take advantage of the more suitable physical environment.
For those students who find their academics too strenuous to participate in time consuming varsity sports, they simply may go study in their rooms.
The environment students live in here is not happy. The room I moved in to my freshman year was reminiscent of Alcatraz: wrought iron bedsprings, cinderblock walls, and intense heat (due to a lack of air-conditioning) gave the room a cell-like atmosphere.
This is especially bothersome when less expensive or academically praised institutions entitle their assets with better living facilities. Students at Lawrence do not need distractions, because they may interfere with studying.
I would like to make the comparison of life at Lawrence to the plot of “The Shining.” We, the students, are Jack, and our schoolwork is the book he intends to write.
We come to Lawrence to work on our education, as Jack retreats to The Overlook Hotel to write his book. Jack has no distractions and therefore should, theoretically, be able to complete the book.
Instead, the whole situation drives him to madness, as Lawrence students are apparently driven to depression.
We need outlets, and it is the school’s responsibility to supply them.