EVANSTON — After Career Services first introduced a viral email to the population last week, the Medill School of Journalism’s Class of 2016 has been experiencing a JR epidemic on an unprecedented scale.
“Nobody wanted this, like literally no one,” said Jennifer Phillips, a sophomore with a confirmed diagnosis.
The journalism residency program, commonly known as JR, is a unique strain of the usual Medill chicanery. Symptoms usually appear one to three minutes after exposure to the viral email and can include, but are not limited to, homelessness, an intense phobia of the word “clips,” and excessive fatigue. It can also cause unnecessary moving expenses and in some patients an effective guarantee of missing Dillo Day.
Students with extreme cases of JR may be quarantined in remote locations such as BumbleFuck, Mich., but clinics are opening each quarter in places such as North Dakota and West Virginia.
“Dozens of Medill students have been coming in concerned about contracting JR,” said Dr. May Williams, a Northwestern University Health Center physician. “We’ve also had a couple of SESP kids but we informed them that practicums are a nonthreatening life condition and directed them towards the candy bowl in Annenberg for an over-the-counter lollipop.”
Because JR is highly contagious and mutates each season, experts expect that JR will continue to strike journalism students throughout future winters. Risk factors for JR include age (19- and 20-year-olds are most susceptible), lack of past exposure (students who have previously had JR are immune to any repeat exposure) and knowledge of AP style.
However, there is hope. Promising research at the Northwestern University Knight Lab is working to make JR a condition of the past, much like polio and the mumps. Scientists are investigating possible treatments such as ending the Hunger Games to get into JOUR 370, informing students of major life changes within a socially acceptable timeframe, and administering a dosage of four credits instead of the totally insubstantial dose of three. Another clinic, funded by Medill Watchdog, is considering actually paying students for working what is essentially a full-time job.
While no insurance companies offer funding for experimental treatments for JR, there’s a stipend available. You won’t get it, but it’s available.