University of Chicago
Each year, University of Chicago hosts a hunt; a one-of-a-kind only competition that asks college students to find over three hundred items in little more than half of a week. Although most schools make analogous demands on a day-by-day basis, University of Chicago’s stands out in that its list is not an index of textbooks. Its list is not a rubric. Its list is the “Scav Hunt.”
As part of the hunt, U of C asks students scour the streets for a list of notoriously arbitrary items. Most recently, it has called for both sentient and slain bodily organs (#8 and #267, respectively); a forthcoming monarch (#66), and cowboy attire that is both vegan and vagabond friendly (#77). Just as U of C asks its students and faculty to push beyond the boundaries of intellectual impossibility, the competition asks teams to find the impossible—and just as Enrico Fermi’s ambitions fashioned the first artificial nuclear reaction, students return to campus in cars brimming with umbilical cords, elephants, and bee beards.
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Their zeal inspired me to embark upon a quest of my own; an enumerated prowl for the most unpredictable albeit paramount of undergraduate attributes.
This is what I came up with.
1. ______ Campus architecture that resembles Hogwarts. [20 points, +5 points for dining arrangements reminiscent of the Great Hall’s, +10 points for a credible ‘house’ system]
2. ______ A curricular intersection of my intellectual inclinations and interdisciplinary intrigue. [100 points, +200 points for the birthplace of a completely new school of economic thought, +100 points for a top-tier law school with introductory courses open to undergraduates]
3. ______ A legacy; perhaps Freakonomics, Obama, and Ashcroft? [10 points]
4. ______ A student ID that doubles as a free admission pass to two of my favorite museums, The Art Institute of Chicago and Chicago’s Contemporary Museum of Art. [10 points]
5. ______ Weekly milkshake discounts. [5 points]
6. ______ A ‘core’ curriculum that does not make laughter painful. [25 points]
7. ______ A stimulating community of individuals committed to maximizing their impact upon society [30 points, +1 point for each approachable hipster intellectual]
8. ______ A mutual coexistence of professors and undergraduate seminars that doesn’t end with a photo session. [25 points]
9. ______ A picturesque synthesis of my favorite city’s scenic wonder; an emblem to the real-world relevance of exhaustive instruction. [20 points]
10. _____ Mock Trial, Student Government, and Students for a Democratic Society. [10 points]
Although I have kept the University of Chicago at the back of my mind since the seventh grade, it wasn’t until this summer that the college became my top choice. As I began to pursue an overwhelming assortment of college guidebooks, I discovered a shocking disparity. Despite all that each institution claimed to offer, none but U of C could offer me what I wanted in a college—concentration; a challenging core; a clever community. None but U of C could bring me that intellectual and interactional fulfillment that I have always longed for. None could even offer me the opportunity to write this—an essay based wholly off of a whimsical scavenger hunt.