A satirical take on our coping mechanisms
Welcome back to your favorite simulation game: University! This fall, as per usual, you can pick and choose which Vice you’d like to play as! There are many options, ranging from extremely serious to relatively innocent coping habits. Remember, each vice comes with some advantages, but mainly downfalls! Take the time to evaluate your life choices this semester – and read these descriptions thoroughly!
This is a timeless vice! Perfect for the fall aesthetic, feed your inner loathing with small “cancer sticks,” as your friends will call them. Of course, smoking cigarettes is bad for you, but it DOES look cool… right? At least, that’s what you thought back when you were 13 picturing what your life would look like now!
Cigarettes are perfect for the procrastinator. These small and inexpensive stinky paper cones will allow you to take excessive breaks all throughout the day, chat with random strangers, and bond over your love of the “forbidden fruit.” According to StatCan, just over 1.5 million Canadians between the ages of 18 and 34 smoke daily or occasionally. When the studying gets going, you’re outside freezing your fingertips off (and trust me, I’m there with you).
The Online Shopper
This one is relatively new! In recent years, going into physical stores has been difficult, not to mention how much work it was to shop in person anyway. Take on a vice that allows you to shop not-so-guilt-free from your couch, bed, or even the bathtub! 94 per cent of Canadians between the ages of 25 to 44 shop online, with average spendings of over $2,000 a year. As students, we already spend so much time online… may as well spend most of your money there. Or, better yet, spend your rent on your fifth matching sweatsuit ‘cause they are just SO comfy.
The one with a JUUL tied to their hand
Yes, this is a different category. This vice, while sharing some of the same components as the cigarette vice (nicotine, the one true addicting queen), is completely different in its application. See, while cigarettes force you to take a break from your hardships, you can vape pretty much anytime, anywhere. This is why it is the perfect vice for those who are just too stressed to take any time off. Let the sweet juice enter your lungs, and set up camp ‘cause the taste of Mango Ice is never leaving the back of your throat.
This vice may seem innocent, but it can wreak havoc on the inside of your bank account. When a university student uses food as a coping mechanism, it will consist mainly of takeout — whether it’s sushi, pizza, tacos, Indian food, or anything else your mouth desires, anything goes! The big problem here is that you lack motivation to cook the giant meal of your dreams, not to mention the work piling up around your takeout containers.
Ah, a classic… Drinking to make it through the school year is the most popular vice. Not only does it help numb you through the endless readings, papers, tests, and lectures, it is also the perfect vice to help you let loose and forget your troubles. This drinking potion is very popular in Canada — a 2016 survey done by the National College Health Assessment survey showed that 35 per cent of students reported having five or more drinks of alcohol per sitting over the last two weeks.
That much alcohol goes against what the Canadian government recommends as a healthy amount, but when have vices been about being healthy? With alcohol, you’ll never be cold, but you might be lonely, since your self-destructive behaviour will push people away faster than you can say “my drink is empty.”
This one is my personal favorite, and one I’ve adopted in everyday life. Weed is one of the most stereotypical “college” things you see — your favourite media tropes of lazy hippie stoners whose eyes won’t open, and are too slow to understand even the simplest joke. This is not my experience, rather that the devil’s lettuce helps to numb me from the realities of my day-to-day life, while still being able to sober up and work (at least a little bit). In terms of how popular weed is, it has seen a rise in recent years with so-called legalization. Back in 2019, just over 50 per cent of Concordia students smoked weed, with 4.2 per cent smoking on a daily basis.
Let’s give an example, shall we? As I write this, I struggle to find the words to describe this lifestyle. I ask myself: ugh why is this so hard to do, as I take my third bowl of the day, and it’s not even 4:20 yet. No wonder I’m having trouble writing.
On a more realistic note, the point is to highlight the behaviours we tend to adopt during the year, and how these are NOT healthy coping mechanisms. Also, I am guilty of every vice, so this also applies to your humble writer, me. Here are some resources at Concordia University for anyone struggling with mental health issues, drug and alcohol addiction, or anything else. Concordia has a wide variety of mental health support services for you.
Graphic by Madeline Schmidt