Note: No college students were harmed in the making of this documentary.
Summer. The time of the year when days last longer than the nights. When the sun scorches down upon dry land and makes life difficult for living organisms. The average animal’s typical response is to conserve energy during the day and venture out when the sun’s down. But surprisingly, not all animals adopt this mechanism.
In this episode of College Wildlife, we observe the typical behaviour of young humans during summer who populate specific buildings known as ‘colleges’. Humans have a wide variety of rites and traditions, and college going humans in the peak of summer are known for performing the annual act of paper sacrifice.
Note: In human culture, paper sacrifice is an annual custom wherein young adults mark sheets of paper with blue or black ink. Various elaborate markings and symbols are etched on the paper in the hopes of pleasing the human adult. The papers are then offered to the human adult. If the adult is satisfied, he/she makes his/her own markings with red ink and allows the younglings to proceed with their college life. Failure to please the adult has dire consequences.
The paper sacrifice is always initiated by the adults of the college. This is done by marking numbers on the green/black wall of the room. The numbers denote the specific days by which the adults require the sacrificial papers. These dates are very important.
The young humans will forget them.
Each adolescent starts the process in his/her own way. Some start collecting papers and begin the decoration process immediately. These humans invariably become the backbone of the sacrificial process, as soon enough, other humans follow their lead. The early collectors then help their disadvantaged bretheren in their respective sacrificial pursuits.
The other humans, who usually begin their own sacrificial preparations mere days before the date of the sacrifice, often find themselves unable to complete the task on their own. In such cases, they approach an early collector and borrow said collector’s papers. They then replicate the markings and decorations on their own papers. This move is performed en masse.
This is a hectic and time consuming process. An entire horde of gatherers sits together in a classroom and frantically etches and decorates sheets of paper. Those who complete the said marking process immediately rush to the adult for approval.
It is adult tradition to reject the first 4 or 5 sacrifices. Each rejection is accompanied by an ‘escalation’, wherein the said markings are deemed to be inadequate and more markings are demanded for the next offering.
In ‘college culture’, adults prefer the sacrificial papers to have a different set of markings for every candidate. However, due to years of subsisting in the dim, barren environment of a college, the human body has evolved to conserve energy whenever and wherever possible.
To this end, the gatherers use their exceeding numbers and pack mentality to employ a technique known as ‘starving’. This technique involves the various sub-groups of humans of a particular classroom uniting in the act of refusing sacrifice. Traditionally, this is always done after the 3rd or 4th rejection-escalation cycle, and it is always initiated by the early collectors.
The starving process makes the adult human hungrier and hungrier for a sacrifice that doesn’t come. If the starvation technique works, the adult will eventually concede defeat and relent in the marking requirements. A bad sacrifice is, without a doubt, better than no sacrifice.
This enables the young humans to etch the same markings on their papers as the others, and the entire horde of humans is finally able to complete the sacrificial pile.
A human queue is then formed outside the adult’s lair. The humans enter the lair one at a time and present their offerings to the adult. The adult marks the offerings and returns it to the humans.
Apparently this process is taxing, as the adult takes several breaks to relieve himself/herself and to consume food on an hourly basis.
This process is repeated till all the queue members have made their offerings. The last offering marks the end of the paper sacrifice season.
Satisfied and exhausted, the young humans make their way back in the dying light, back to their families, content and happy to be allowed to continue their college life.
Soon enough, the next summer will come and they’ll be repeating the whole process again.
This concludes today’s episode. What other wonders will we find in the world of human colleges? Stay tuned! This is College Wildlife and till next time, good day and good night!