Culture and Imagination

October 18, 2013

In the fall, things at the College of the Humanities get funky.

To kick things off, every year at the end of September the College hosts a ‘wine and cheese’ (we like to keep it classy) where all the students and professors get to mingle. As a first-year student, you will get bombarded by several over-excited fourth-year students trying to get your whole life story while performing the delicate balancing act of eating chips and salsa (with no plate) while holding a beverage. I was one of those students. I met newcomers from all across the world, with a variety of academic interests and hobbies. One thing they all had in common, besides their fabulous outfits, was that they already felt at home in the College. Also included is the entertainment of seeing your professors outside of the classroom. This year that meant a song and dance from a third-year professor, and some questionable jokes about colleagues that couldn’t make it. This event is usually the first of many fun things that happen in the fall.

Next is the Humanities first-year party. It is a tradition for the second-year students to find a venue and collect some donations to throw a fabulous ‘Humscoming’ for the new members of the College. A few upper-year students go to residence, gather up the first-year students and hop on a bus that takes them to the party. Upon arrival, they are greeted with cheers and applause, laurels laid at their feet, coats whisked away, the whole she-bang. The rest of the night is spent chatting and getting to know other members of the College, both new and old. Definitely a night you won’t want to miss!

A few weeks later there is the first Humanities Music Night of the year. Music Night is basically an open-mic night, except when we say ‘open’ we mean blow-the-doors-off, Kool-Aid-Man-ran-through-the-wall, kind of open. All the members of the College squeeze into the Humanities Lecture Hall on a Thursday or Friday night, each with an instrument or snack (for us shy folk) in tow. If you want to perform, and anyone can perform, you just write your name on a sign-up sheet and wait your turn. Over the years, I have seen bagpipe solos, poetry readings, piano concertos and choreographed dance numbers. The welcoming and open-minded crowd at Music Night cannot be beat, so if there is something you want to try, this is the place to do it. There are usually about four of these events each year, so if you are too nervous to whip out that flute-dub step mashup, there is always next time.

Once you’re in the Humanities program, you’re in. And I mean this in the best possible way. Above the lecture room door, it should say, ‘Abandon stress/loneliness/inhibitions, all ye who enter here.’