September 25, 2014

O-Issue 2014: Traditions


You know what Scav is. You have presumably received at least one promotional brochure during the admissions process that mentioned it. You may have read the 2012 *New Yorker* article profiling the hunt. You might have heard about how Scav officially took the Guinness World Record in 2011 for the world’s largest scavenger hunt. Depending on your team allegiance, which is typically comprised of houses banded together, Scav is either the Super Bowl of collective effervescence or a blip on your radar. Hard-core Scavvies are known to forgo classes, sleeping, and eating in pursuit of victory and eternal glory. For the rest of the student body, abnormal sleeping and eating patterns continue as per usual.

Shake Day

There are milkshakes for one dollar at C-Shop on Wednesdays. Rejoice!

Bar Night

Wednesday nights in the Alpha Delt basement. Buy drinks for less than $5, see random people from your Hum class, spend the rest of the night double-shampooing your hair to get rid of the smell of cigarettes. Ah, the sweet nostalgic stench of post-adolescence!

Breaking down the quarter week by week

Welcome to the quarter system. Each quarter is 10 weeks. The end of 10th week is reading period. Finals are technically 11th week. Your whole life for the next four years is going to be organized around whichever week it is in the quarter (first week, second week, third week, etc.). There is no scientific or empirical proof that certain weeks are universally more difficult, but that shouldn’t stop you from using the blanket excuse and/or gripe, “Ughh, X week.” We understand X week is always the hardest, even if last week was previously the hardest.


It starts roughly fourth week of fall quarter and ends roughly eighth week of spring quarter. Make friends with the cold. Make friends with reality. Just watch out for the ice because that is treacherous and is not your friend.

Going to Valois anytime you hear Obama is in town

In case you haven’t heard, Hyde Park is Obama Town, U.S.A. Look to your left! Obama walked there (probably). Your right? That’s Mr. President’s dry cleaners right there because he’s got a lot of tan suits to dry-clean. But Barry’s favorite Hyde Park hang is the cafeteria-style diner, Valois, on 53rd Street. Every few months, when someone spots the motorcade cruisin’ around Chicago, the entire student body descends upon Valois to eat breakfast all day and wait for Barry to waltz in. The success rate ain’t high, but it ain’t called a success rate for nothing.

Parties not starting at the time they say they will on Facebook

Add 90 minutes. Two hours if you don’t know more than three people. The youths these days just aren’t punctual, and all that Sosc reading is not helping matters. To the brave souls who show up to parties on time and power through those first awkward hours where everyone just holds an alcoholic beverage and checks their phone, you’re the real MVP. Seriously.

Spending all day at the Reg, checking Facebook and getting coffee at Ex Libris

Ah yes, the Reg, the towering, brutalist library that serves as both a prison and a hub. Everyone goes to the Reg planning to study, and most, when asked, will claim to have been studying. But it’s a rare specimen that spends all day at the Reg (as you will hear endlessly) actually studying. And after repeatedly refreshing your Facebook and Twitter feeds and watching a couple YouTube clips, you really need to get a coffee to hunker down and bust out some pages. Hey, you spent all day at the Reg— you deserve it! See you tomorrow on the third floor!

Falling asleep in the Harper reading room armchairs

It happens to the best of us. You just wanted to sit in a comfortable chair for a few minutes to catch up on your reading. You know, to give your eyes a break from your laptop. You just took your shoes off because, hey, it’s eighth week (see: “Breaking down the quarter week by week”), and we’re all pretty cozy by eighth week.

Not knowing where the shuttles pick up or drop off.

Seriously, where is the East these days? Does it change routes every other week? Why did I not look this up before going outside (see: “Winter”)? Is the app that tracks the shuttles working? Can I even properly use my phone with three pairs of gloves on (see: “Winter”)? At this point, is it more time-effective to just walk home? Perhaps, if I start walking, I’ll run into the shuttle, yes?

Kuviasungnerk/Kangeiko (Kuvia)

Still not pumped for winter (see: “Winter”)? COUP is here to help! Second week of winter quarter (see: “Breaking down the quarter week by week”) is the weeklong festival Kuviasungnerk, which is named after the Inuit word for the pursuit of happiness. Every morning during Kuvia, students meet at 6 a.m. in Henry Crown Field House for Kangeiko, which is named after the tradition in karate to exercise during the coldest time of the year, but is in reality mostly yoga and dancing followed by bagels and regret. The last morning of Kangeiko concludes with a walk to the Point and a celebratory free T-shirt for everyone who made it out every morning. Free T-shirts validate all struggle in college.

Summer Breeze

After the ice melts, both on the ground and in your heart, the Summer Breeze festival kicks off. For one glorious afternoon, you can drink to excess on the quad, go see a concert put on by the Major Activities Board (MAB), and wonder if this is what it would feel like to go to a school without a Core and in a warmer climate. Last year, Flying Lotus headlined with supporting acts Pusha T, Baauer, and Vic Mensa. Nelly, Crystal Castles, Nas, Spoon, Broken Social Scene, and Run DMC have played at the concert in the past.

Stepping on the seal

At some point during the admissions tour, the tour guide stopped to show you the gold University seal on the ground at the entrance to Reynolds Club. Legend goes that if you step on the seal, you won’t graduate in four years. At some point during your first year, bundled in several layers of sweaters and pants, rushing in from the snow (see: “Winter”), you will step on the seal. Life as we know it will continue.