Christian Ragland’s Day Off Not Nearly As Whimsical As Ferris Bueller’s
At 4:00 Friday morning, Penn State University police were summoned to the third floor of the HUB, as motion sensors had detected an individual trying to break into room 332. Upon arriving on the scene, they found former UPUA president Christian Ragland clawing at the door, attempting to get in. Ragland was, in fact, asleep.
Upon his reawakening, Ragland seemed to have no recollection of the night’s events. He could not name where he was, why he was there, or why he was fully dressed in a gray suit with an argyle sweater. Security footage showed that the HUB was not his first stop over the night–Ragland had sleepwalked through campus, apparently spending the better part of an hour talking about tuition with the statue of Joe Paterno outside Beaver Stadium and posting flyers on campus bulletin boards, encouraging students to vote.
Ragland–who on Thursday had taken his first day off since being elected to the post–appeared to have difficulty transitioning to life as a civilian at Penn State, following the election of his successor, T.J. Bard, on Wednesday. According to psychology professor Dr. Werner Lipschitz, that type of behavior is hardly uncommon following such an experience.
“We usually see this happen after the body experiences a traumatic experience,” Dr. Lipschitz said. “Even though the individual seems to comprehend the change in his life, the subconscious fails to move on.”
In this case, it was Ragland moving on from his “no days off” mentality that had characterized his administration. During the day, Ragland had taken the day off, catching up on all he had missed during his presidency. He skipped class to stay in his apartment all day, waking up at 1:30 p.m. and eating Crunch Berries while playing FIFA 11 on his Xbox 360. At 10:00 p.m., Ragland went to an apartment party, and stopped at Canyon Pizza at approximately 1:00 a.m. before arriving home at 1:30 a.m. Friday morning. And just 30 minutes later, he was back out on campus.
In cases like these, Dr. Lipschitz warns, the difficulty adjusting to a lifestyle so different from the one Ragland became accustomed to could pose continuous problems. He advised that Ragland try to ease back into his life post-presidency by maintaining a leadership role at Penn State, but that UPUA alienate Ragland as soon as possible.
“The worst thing he could do is retain a relationship with the organization,” Dr. Lipschitz said. “Or else next Wednesday he’ll show up at the next meeting and forget that he’s not the president.”
Dr. Lipschitz also had advice for T.J. Bard, who has not committed to a similar “no days off” schedule.
“Take holidays, for one,” Dr. Lipschitz said. “And at least every other Sunday.”