The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday June 15th

How drugs (medicine) helped me get into college

As first-years at UNC are stressing over becoming acclimated to college life and adulthood — whether they’re juggling classes and extracurricular activities or trying to make sense of the coming election — prospective Tar Heels are scrambling to submit their early action applications by the October deadline. 

We all know how hectic and stressful application season can be. You beg for recommendations from teachers, hunt down past awards and records, write various nonsensical essays, fill out unnecessarily long forms and of course, narrow your college search. We were all in their shoes.

Yet, our experiences and circumstances surrounding the application process differ. Some applied without a care in the world, breezing through their applications, confident and excited to see what the future held. Others, upon submitting applications, sobbed uncontrollably, wondering if they’d end up in college or on the street scavenging for scraps of food and sharing a cardboard box with a middle-aged homeless man named Jim Bob.

See? Very different experiences.

My experience was unique in its own way as well.

Why, you may ask?

Because drugs helped me get into college.

Yes. Drugs. For real. I know.

Let me explain:

Heading into my senior year, I was excited: my time as a prisoner student at Harnett Central was coming to an end, and college was right around the corner. While many of my friends were stressing over application season, I sat back, relaxed, not thinking too much about the whole process. 

After years of hard work in school, I thought my senior year would be simple. Participate in senior activities, pass my classes, and get into the college of my choice, all without issue. It seemed pretty reasonable, right? Wrong.

On Sept. 10, just three weeks into my senior year, a sudden pain in my foot would cause me to endure weeks of doctor’s visits and tests until I found out that I needed surgery. There was a staph infection in my foot — which left doctors completely baffled as to how it even began — that required surgery and six weeks of strong antibiotics via PICC line, all of which would keep me out of school for two months (I didn’t return to school until Nov. 11). 

Those two months, which included the application period, were spent under the power of several strong painkillers, including hydrocodone, morphine, Dilaudid and oxycodone (popularly known as Percocet).  

It’s safe to say that spending two months of my senior year bedridden with a swollen, surgically-repaired foot while high on (primarily) Percocet sucked.

It’s a miracle that I was conscious enough to even complete my applications. Granted, I had plenty of help from my brother, Matthew, who was also applying to colleges at the same time. He would help me find old awards and certificates, and he would fill out applications as I absentmindedly answered the questions they asked. He was like my own personal man-servant, like Alfred is to Batman, Geoffrey to Will Smith, Bob the Butler to the Jamieson family and like Hanson is to the Hell House Mansion — except I was more like Hanson, really, as we both had limbs that were hard to look at (to say the least.) 

via GIPHY

Whenever Matthew wasn’t helping me, I was left to my own devices. Two essays were required for the UNC application.

I was so out of it at the time that I don’t even recall what the prompts were. Something about overcoming obstacles? Something about fixing past mistakes? I’m not even sure. But, apparently, the essays (combined with other factors, of course) were good enough to get me into UNC — my dream school — which is downright silly considering how high I was at the time.

I was higher than when Rick James held a celebration, higher than when Rick James stomped on Charlie Murphy’s couch, higher than when Rick James showed Charlie Murphy some unity, higher than when Rick James asked Charlie Murphy what the five fingers said to the face … Wow, Rick James was high, a lot. And so was I.

via GIPHY

And it sucked. Percocet sucked. Why is it so popular among rappers these days?

Lil Wayne rapped, “Pop a Percocet, I feel like Iron Mike.” Which version of Mike are we talking? Is it the Mike that put Michael Spinks to bed in round one in 1988 or the Mike that got clobbered by Evander Holyfield in 1996? I certainly felt like the latter. (What the hell was Wayne on when he kept saying Perc was so great? Oh, right. Percocet.) 

Desiigner also rapped how he couldn’t stand up after popping Perc, which I found completely accurate. Yes, my foot may have been swollen and stitched up to the point that walking was impossible (for six weeks, almost), but I can tell you that it was the Percocet that inhibited my ability to stand up. Believe me. 

via GIPHY

Whether or not they opened the floodgates of high-induced creativity or just kept me from suffering intense pain while applying, drugs helped me get into college.

So, to any high school seniors that may be reading this, would I recommend getting a staph infection in your foot that requires surgery, months of rehab and pain, all so you can be high on drugs while you apply to college?

Yes. Hell no.

Kids, don’t do drugs. By no means is this an endorsement of the consumption of prescription pain killers. During my ordeal with staph, I was under strict supervision from various medical professionals, even having my blood tested to ensure that the antibiotics and painkillers were not having any adverse effects on my liver. But, if you won’t take my word for it, take Mr. Mackey’s. 

swerve@dailytarheel.com

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