You’re suffering the most debilitating illness of your life, but there are no signs of fever or muscle aches.
You miss college.
The condition sets in slowly, perhaps spurred by the recent onset of bright-eyed, laptop-carrying students in local coffee shops.
You initially resist the symptoms and vow that life in the real world beats ambiguous cafeteria dinners with titles like “meaty mac.”
But your emotional immune system isn’t that strong.
That’s why you end up wearing sandals in your apartment shower and tying a shoestring around your front door whenever you have a guest of the opposite sex.
You develop a sudden affinity for pulling all-nighters. Not to mention an inexplicable urge to replace your plush sofa with inflatable furniture.
Of course, the condition is most severe in patients fresh out of college life.
Graduates of all ages are susceptible to college nostalgia’s wrath, however.
That’s why you’ll occasionally see a lonely 30-something squirming on the floor in an aisle of Bed Bath & Beyond while screaming in agony, “I hate you, bed in a bag!”
The worst part? Experts say a cure is unlikely.
Some patients seek temporary fixes — say, hanging a dry-erase board in your office cubicle and regularly writing messages like “hi, roomie.”
Health professionals strongly caution against relying on one of the most popular remedies: immersion therapy.
Resist all impulses to return to the environment triggering your symptoms.
Succumb to this plan of action and college students will inevitably label you “that person” — even if they feign happiness at your arrival.
Sporting events are a possible exception, but should still be approached cautiously.
If at any point you find yourself devising an elaborate post-game plan to hide from a resident assistant, seek medical assistance immediately.
Current college students will likely roll their eyes while reading my words, convinced that life outside the realm of dorm deposits is a better deal.
But listen up, skeptics: You, too, will one day suffer from these crippling symptoms.
Vaccinate yourself in advance by appreciating the uniqueness of your college experience, dabbling in the unknown and embracing adventure for adventure’s sake.
And to the sufferers described in this article, remember things could be worse.
College nostalgia syndrome is painful, but your old campus is probably already on its 12th bout of mono.
How does that meaty mac sound now?
Sonya Sorich, reporter, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 706-571-8516.