USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘University of Maryland’
Adulthood
Folk Beliefs
Folk speech
Humor
Initiations
Life cycle
Narrative
Riddle
Stereotypes/Blason Populaire
Tales /märchen

Testudo the Turtle and the Virgin Graduate

Then there’s the folklore of Testudo. It’s the statue at the University of Maryland, of a land turtle, a terrapin, it’s this big turtle it sits on a big granite, uh…pedestal, in front of the library. And his nose is really shiny, because people rub his nose for good luck. Whenever you pass by him. And the legend is that when a virgin graduates from the University of Maryland, the turtle will do a backflip. And no one’s ever seen the turtle move. Put that in there!

 

Do you remember when you first heard it?

 

Orientation! Freshmen orientation.

 

Who told it to you?

 

The Orientation leader.

 

ANALYSIS:

This turtle statue is clearly a point of pride and identification for the University and its students. Located in the middle of campus, and symbolic of their school pride (it being their mascot), it is in the public eye and everyone seems to participate in the traditions surrounding it. First, there’s the belief that if you rub its nose you will have good luck – which is a unifying ritual that all students can share, and enforces their school culture. Second, the joke that implies that no virgin has every graduated from the University of Maryland is also clearly a point of pride and culture. And third, the fact that orientation leaders distribute this tale to new students as a kind of intitiatory introduction to what the school culture is all about, shows that the students pride themselves (and make fun of themselves) for “getting around” and having fun in college. This is saying to the new students, welcome, you will have fun here and I promise you will get laid in college – with a subtle warning that if you don’t, everyone will know you’re a virgin because the statue will do a backflip! You don’t want that humiliation or want to kill the tradition.

Adulthood
Humor
Stereotypes/Blason Populaire

The Dean of Men’s Daughter

“She was only the Dean of Men’s Daughter,

With an IQ of twenty-three,

But the things that we college boys taught her

Could’ve earned her some sort of degree.”

 

Where’d you get that song?

 

University of Maryland!

 

So you learned that in college.

 

Yeah. 1965.

 

Who’d you learn it from?

 

I don’t know, some college boys. Some graduate student. In engineering.

 

ANALYSIS:

This is a folksong that most kids at the University of Maryland presumably learn, from other, older students. It suggests school pride in being raunchy and sexually active, and there’s also a clear dynamic of gender roles embedded in the joke. The girl is either naive or provocative, but it’s the boys that show her the ropes and supposedly “corrupt” her. She is also obviously dumb, if she has such a low IQ. The fact that she’s the Dean’s daughter makes her a catch, because she’s highly unattainable and in a sense, off-limits, as well as perhaps easily corruptible because of her ‘stupidity’. Or maybe she’s dumb but attractive, so the boys don’t care. The fact that she’s the dean’s daughter makes her low intelligence funny. So this suggests the boys at U of Maryland can get away with things, and can persuade or manipulate even the most unattainable girls. They can have their fun and still stay out of trouble with the administration.

general
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Opening Day

“The sights and sounds of summer are approaching, and with them come hot, long days and more lacrosse jersey-clad people than you could have possibly known existed. The warm spring air has lazily descended on our lovely campus, and accompanying this seasonal change is my favorite day of the spring semester. Not only is it my favorite day, it is also one of the great traditions at this university: the opening of the outdoor pool on Maryland Day. It is a glorious day, when students from across the campus and beyond come to unwind around and in the shimmering pool.

It is almost as if students hear a voice calling their names, telling them to drop everything and come bask by the chlorinated water. Students abandon their books, researchers leave their lab coats and goggles in the lab, athletes ditch their pads and sticks, and homework assignments are brought to be completed at the pool on North Campus at the Eppley Recreation Center.

Seeing the pool on a spring day is a pretty amazing sight. At any given moment you can see people doing crazy acrobatics on the diving board, more girls in bikinis than Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition and me throwing down dunks at the pool basketball hoop on unsuspecting defenders. There is music pumping from the speakers as friends reunite in the water, new friends are made and crushes develop. The pool reaches capacity and, soon enough, a line forms. The unlucky outsiders are left with the same feeling of injustice as the Butabi brothers had while getting rejected from nightclub after nightclub in A Night at the Roxbury.”

Since the University of Maryland is a cold climate most of the year the chance to lay by the pool must be very exciting for the college students.  This tradition must symbolize the start of summer and more outdoor activities.  It is also clearly a social activity that brings people together who might not have mingled together otherwise.  Perhaps this is a chance to spark new love or create new friends with a different mix of people.

This article was written by Cory Kutcher and can be found in the link below:

http://www.diamondbackonline.com/opinion/opening-day-a-wet-and-wild-tradition-1.2210715

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