When prepping for this trip, I had some trepidation about being in a big (and potentially dangerous) city. Last night, I was a little nervous about finding my way from one friend to another. Luckily, I only had to ride one subway stop and walk less than a block by myself to Columbia University – no big deal, right?
When I exited the subway around two minutes past midnight, I was greeted by screaming! I almost turned back into the subway station to hide from whatever violence was surely occurring nearby. Strangely, though, no one else seemed to find the screaming even remotely problematic. Since I could see the gates of the campus from the subway exit, I decided to track down my friend and take cover with him in the student center. As I walked through campus, there were more and more screams coming from all over the place, and no one seemed concerned at all.
When my friend met up with me, we finally had a passing student fill us in – the screams were a university tradition called “Primal Scream,” and there were definitely not horrific murders happening everywhere. Apparently at midnight on the last Sunday of finals, students let loose all of their pent up stress by going outside and screaming their heads off! Since my friend is a visiting student, he was as surprised by the tradition as I was – but that didn’t stop us from contributing some of our own screams to the noise.