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Students Herald Exams on a Triumphant Note

The fall semester finals period means business for most Swarthmore students – a frenzy of reading, writing, solving, and studying amid the darkest evenings of the year. But each December, one of the community’s most beloved – and loudest – traditions interrupts all that with a shared meal and a collective rallying cry.

The Midnight Breakfast and Primal Scream, which took place on the Thursday prior to finals in Sharples Dining Hall, heralded exams on a triumphant note. Leading to midnight, students piled their plates with breakfast treats and filled up on unlimited coffee and tea. Fueled by eggs and earl grey as they perched themselves on tables across the main dining room, they welcomed midnight with a single cathartic scream.

Swarthmore’s Office of Student Engagement, which oversees the breakfast, made sure the fun did not end with the food. A karaoke machine allowed students to channel their pop icons and nostalgia favorites in public – a foolproof method of stress relief, to be sure. Assistant Director of Student Activities Mike Elias believes the whole event  “is a great way for students to relax, enjoy the company of their peers, and let out one, final release of energy before finals start.”

This tradition is particularly special because it draws together students, staff, and administrators from all over campus. The OSE coordinated a large corps of volunteers this year coming from 10 College offices and departments who served food to students, manned the karaoke, and made sure everyone had a good time. A highlight for many was the appearance of Interim President Constance Hungerford, who greeted students with trays full of donuts when they arrived.

“A wonderful aspect of Midnight Breakfast,” says Elias, “is the support from faculty and staff across campus. I think students really appreciate getting the time to interact casually with faculty and staff once the workday ends. From our faculty/staff perspective, we always appreciate spending time and supporting our students.”

Swatties, including this writer, are looking forward to all future reprisals of the Midnight Breakfast. 

Constance Hungerford at Midnight Breakfast

Interim President Constance Hungerford serves donuts during Midnight Breakfast.

Photo by Sadie Rittman '16
Dean Miller at Midnight Breakfast
Dean of the Senior Class and Director of Student Conduct Nathan Miller serves students during Midnight Breakfast.
Photo by Sadie Rittman '16
Students at Midnight Breakfast

Lauren Barlow '15 and Sophie Diamond '15 dressed in festive, reindeer pajamas to attend Midnight Breakfast, the night before finals week. 

Photo by Sadie Rittman '16
Students stand on top tables

In this annual tradition, students let out a cathartic scream at midnight to signal the start of finals.

Photo by Sadie Rittman '16
Students during primal scream

In this annual tradition, students let out a cathartic scream at midnight to signal the start of finals.

Photo by Sadie Rittman '16
Students during primal scream

In this annual tradition, students let out a cathartic scream at midnight to signal the start of finals.

Photo by Sadie Rittman '16
Students during primal scream

In this annual tradition, students let out a cathartic scream at midnight to signal the start of finals.

Interim President Constance Hungerford serves donuts during Midnight Breakfast.

Photo / Sadie Rittman '16
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