However paradoxical it may seem, college has made me and my friends much less crazy, at least as far as school is concerned. In high school, we were those kids who graduated in the top 10 of their class and would fight for that extra half point on their AP Chem test. And now? Not so much.

Don’t get me wrong — we want to do well. We like A’s and making Dean’s List and all that. But we are also far less academically competitive than we were back in the day. Most of us know we won’t be Phi Beta Kappa or Rhodes Scholars, so we channel our nerdy competitive energy into… games. Lots of them.

That’s not to stay we aren’t selective, because trust me, we are. Monopoly is too boring (but our Wharton friends sure do love it), and Sorry is too simple. We prefer games of the more cerebral variety; any game that involves words and/or trivia is sure to please. We have to use our $180,000 brains for something, right?

Our current favorites are Scattergories and Bananagrams. Scattergories is the equivalent of that in-class essay exam you cram for every semester. The time constraint simultaneously stresses you out and gives you a rush, and obscure word choice is highly valued. Bananagrams is more like a multiple choice midterm — you have to race to the finish, but not compromise accuracy in the process. And being able to rub your win in your friends’ faces is so much more satisfying (and socially acceptable) than bragging about the A you got on your history final.

Tuesday nights we eschew individual glory for group competition when we flex our mental muscle at Blarney Quizzo. What newspaper is known as the Grey Lady? The New York Times. Duh. Can you identify 10 different types of pasta by picture alone? Of course. Name that tune: movie score edition? Got it. (And no, we don’t cheat via BlackBerry, thankyouverymuch.)

We Penn students are competitive. We want to be the best at stuff, even if it’s not classroom-related. We want to be good at arbitrary games (see our feature, pg. 9) and have the coolest jobs (pg. 16). And we definitely want to win.

Peel, Julia


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