Background information: MD is a 21-year-old student at University of California, San Diego. He grew up in Hayward, CA, and is currently living near UCSD campus. Because most of his time at UCSD has been spent online, he has not had much time to engage in school traditions yet.
MD: The night before finals week, I think everybody opens their window and screams at the same time. So you just let out all the stress you’ve been carrying through the whole quarter in that scream all together. And once everyone is done screaming at that specific time, you just carry on with your studying and whatever else you might be doing.
Me: I’ve definitely heard about traditions like that. Where did you learn about it?
MD: I saw it on Reddit, I think. I probably was just looking up UCSD culture before I started going there, um, or after I decided to go there. I don’t really know (laughs). But I think it’s kinda similar to what a lot of schools do, like that’s probably why you know it too, like screaming on the quad or in a field or something. I think it’s fun to do something cathartic like that with all your classmates so you can all remember, that, like, you’re all in the same boat. It’s definitely very needed.
Me: True, true. Have you done it yet this year?
MD: I haven’t ever done it myself, and I never even heard anyone else do it when I lived on-campus. But to be fair, I only lived on campus for two quarters (laughs).
This tradition is definitely not specific to UCSD, and I think that most colleges would have some form of this “catharsis” during finals week. It makes sense that this is such a widespread piece of folklore among college students, as it creates a feeling of connectedness and shared identity during a time when students are under a large amount of stress and may feel isolated as they focus on school work. I also thought it was important to note that, because of the pandemic, many people like MD have felt as though they are missing out out traditions and pieces of folklore because of the fact that they cannot communicate with others in the same way.