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College Traditions for the Superstitious

Assistant Editor, Online Specialist, Carnegie Communications

May   2012



You know you do it: those superstitious habits that often come out of the woodwork when there’s pressure to do something spectacular. Maybe you have a lucky pair of underwear that you proudly don during your team’s championship game. Or perhaps you can only drink a certain energy drink when pulling an all-nighter before a big test. But at some schools, these good-luck charms are much more prominent than the lucky penny in your backpack.

At Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia, students “kick the post” for good luck. The kicking post has been around since the early 1920s—after an incident where a faculty member was almost run down by a student with a car, the octagonal obelisk was put up as a barrier to keep vehicles away. Now, students depend on the post to keep away those bad grades, too.

A sculpture of a cube of letters, BC/AD, can be spun in front of the library at Gustavus Adolphus College to predict final exam grades. Notice there’s no ‘F’—I love the positive attitude!

Students on their way to finals and presentations at Texas Christian University make sure to pass the metal sculpture of TCU’s mascot and give the horned frog’s nose a rub (or kiss) for luck.

Many colleges, like Misericordia University and Saint Leo University hold “midnight breakfasts,” for stressed-out students.  Students can visit the cafeteria during late-night hours to get a study snack served by faculty and administrators (often including the president). 

And other college students—like those at Messiah College—blow off steam in a cathartic group scream. During finals week when the clock strikes midnight, students throw open their windows and scream at the top of their lungs. Students say that it relieves a great deal of stress, and provides a good laugh.  

Check out our list, Interesting College Traditions, for even more weird (and wonderful) campus happenings! Have you heard of any interesting student traditions and good-luck charms for finals? Share them below!

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About Catherine Seraphin

Catherine Seraphin

Catherine Seraphin is the Digital Media Project Manager at Harvard University, formerly the Assistant Editor, Online Specialist for Carnegie Communications. Catherine graduated from Penn State University with a degree in journalism, a minor in English, and course concentrations in business. She was previously an in-depth arts reporter for Penn State’s student-run newspaper, The Daily Collegian, and interned as a features reporter at a paper based in Southern Massachusetts. Catherine previously had a full-year internship with a well-known higher education PR firm. Her favorite experiences during college include her two years as a resident assistant and her involvement in THON, the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. There, she was on the PR committee that helped THON become the third most tweeted topic worldwide. When she isn’t working, you can find Catherine shopping, reading, running, or updating her social media pages.

You can circle Catherine on Google+, follow her on Twitter, or subscribe to her CollegeXpress blog.