O. Geezer (2011). Journal of Non-Academic No Brainers
During the exam period at my current academic institution, I happened to overhear a number of pupils declaring how much they looked forward to “getting smashed” after their examinations. I inferred, from the context of the conversations, that “getting smashed” had something to do with high levels of academic stress, which we will define as higher than baseline levels of cortisol after an intensive period of academia related study. Upon further investigation I came across this definition of “smashed” from the prestigious Urban Dictionary (2001):
To be heavily intoxicated, to the point where behaviour is erratic and the ability to walk straight is no more.
Well, it struck me as odd that intelligent humans, as they were, would intentionally intoxicate themselves to the point of dysfunction as a form of stress reduction. Is it possible that heavy intoxication, or “getting smashed,” is more effective than other, less injurious, treatments? I was determined to find out. Serendipitously, three students of mine – who also happened to be triplet orphans raised by three different families, but miraculously ended up taking my course at the exact same time! – volunteered to participate in the current study.
All three participants had completed their exams on Thursday, December the 8th. The study took place from December 9th through to the 11th. Baseline cortisol levels were measured for all three participants and were found to be equally high (28 μg/dL).
Rx Conditions (see Table 1)
Triplet A was exposed to a no Rx condition.
Triplet B was exposed to a PubCrawl Rx over a period of two days.
Triplet C was exposed to a Camping/Hiking Rx over the same period of time.
Note: Triplet’s A and B were debriefed as to the nature of the study, and were awarded three months of Camping Rx for participating in the study.
The camping/hiking Rx was selected for the third condition because numerous studies have consistently proven its effectiveness at reducing academic stress in undergraduate student populations (Large Scale Empirical Study with a Persuasive Discussion Section, 2011).
According to a dependent samples t-test, the post-test cortisol levels for Triplet A remained the same (28 μg/dL), for Triplet B cortisol levels were significantly higher (100 μg/dL; p = .0012.), and for Triplet C cortisol levels were significantly lower (8 μg/dL; p = .0011) than the pre-test cortisol levels.
Clearly, my study demonstrates that camping is a far better alternative to “getting smashed,” and that “getting smashed” is worse than doing nothing at all. There were no limits to my study because I used the word “empirical” in my title, and I included a Table along with a clear results section. Future studies should try to be as awesome as this study was.
To celebrate our results we have provided the following slideshow from Triplet C’s camping trip.