Seriously: Harvard scientist discovers 2020’s time dilation

Paul Brull

Graphic illustration depicting a color-blocked figure with a raised eyebrow, with script text saying "Seriously?"
(Graphic Illustration by Colin Crawford | The Collegian

 Editor’s Note: This is a satire piece from The Collegian’s opinion section. Real names and the events surrounding them may be used in fictitious/semi-fictitious ways. Those who do not read the editor’s notes are subject to being offended.

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – A recent Collegian poll of Colorado State University students and staff revealed that everyone believes it has been “the longest year of (their) lifetime.” Although several past studies cited compounding stresses of lost time and opportunity as plausible explanations for this perception, a new study reveals a much more reasonable explanation.


“It’s time dilation,” Harvard University scientist Jane Dewey said. “The reason the time since March has felt like five years is because it actually was. According to our calculations, COVID-19 was definitely supposed to happen sometime around 2022 and not during an election year. We can’t be sure, but we think this is the result of a particularly reckless cartoon-esque time traveler making a mistake. Although the consequences for the rest of us have been dire, I’m sure some child on TV learned a very valuable lesson.”

Multiple studies confirm Dewey’s conclusion. Famously, the Environmental Protection Agency study on the matter generated several Republican lawsuits on both a state and national level, claiming that several Democrats overstayed their leave of office. Democrats roundly reject the study, calling it “junk science.” The national debate continues.

A rip in the space-time continuum is a much better explanation for student woes than my own incompetence.” –Reginald Woodsworth III

Even in scientific circles, several questions remain. When interviewed, scientists noted a few of their concerns, including, “How is time dilation the most plausible thing, how is it that all five years since March were terrible and how did you get in my house?”

To better grasp impacts closer to home, The Collegian reached out to a few students and staff for their input.

“Honestly, it makes a lot of sense,” CSU senior and political science major Joshua Brinson commented. “Initially, I thought my recent acquisition of 10 pounds and male pattern baldness was just finals and a genuine concern for American democracy talking. Now I know I just aged five years!”

Tenured physics professor and insufferable old man Reginald Woodsworth III noted, “I wondered why this year felt like such a slog. Now I know it wasn’t an influx of dubiously valuable discussion board posts and assignments designed to keep students ‘engaged’ compounding on dry video lectures. A rip in the space-time continuum is a much better explanation for student woes than my own incompetence.”

Relief, however, is not the universal response to the scientific revelation. Second Provost of Overlapping Responsibilities and Overlarge Kinko Paychecks Sally May comments, “If we’ve actually been working for five years, where’s the pay? I’ve been working too hard, sending at least 20 internal emails a day about these troubled times, and I deserve some compensation.”

It seems CSU administration agrees and indicated it’s currently floating a nine semester tuition back payment requirement for all students. “It’s a hard decision to make,” Third Provost of Official Provost Decision Making and Colorado State University board member Craig Johnson said. “On one hand, students are concerned if even one semester’s full tuition is worth the equivalent of an academic-themed Zoom book club and a pat on the head. On the other, CSU is in desperate need of more provosts.”

Time dilation, though, is not all bad. Chad Chadsworthington of house Delta Delta Delta just remembered having a “dope conversation” with a mysterious stranger about his upcoming “totally lit New Years party” six months ago. He now knows how to get everyone there “absolutely crunk beyond a shade of doubt.” First, though, he intends to focus on finals.

Paul Brull can be reached at or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.