Alive and kicking during Dead Week

A scheduling quirk unlike any other, Dead Week – the brief period in between the end of Winter Study and the beginning of the second semester – is often anything but. In fact, with such a short amount of time to work with, students are forced into devising uniquely truncated adventures to get away from campus for a few days. The examples that follow are reflective of this quixotic Dead Week spirit.

Vishal Agraharkar ’05, Phil Smith ’05 and Veronica Mendiola ’05 went to Manhattan for a relaxing break from the fast-paced life of Billsville. Searching for things to do one evening, they called the Comedy Cellar to see if it had any shows that night and it turned out that Dave Chappelle was performing. They automatically assumed that it would be sold out, Agraharkar said, but late cancellations made it possible.

“He was mainly there to promote his new show on Comedy Central, so after he went through a slow-paced monologue, where he seemed like he was drunk or high, he showed us clips from his show, and then did some improvisation based on audience sex stories,” Agraharkar said. “He then went on to talk about one of his own sexual encounters with a girl and a motorcycle helmet.”

Returning to his home state of Virginia after a winter study NOLS trip spent scaling rocks and not bathing in Arizona, Paul Sonenthal ’05 visited friends at Washington and Lee University.

“I went with the big Argentine kid who lives in my basement,” Sonenthal said of his traveling companion and housemate, whom he identified only as “Rico.” The pair spent three days at the southern university, partying and catching up with friends, but for Sonenthal, true contentment came from the solitude of the road.

“Rico and I had a ball at W&L, but we didn’t talk much on the ride,” he said. “I kept telling him to ride up front, but he said he felt more comfortable in the trunk. Force of habit, I guess.”

Adam Babson ’05, the Opinions editor of this paper, flew home to Seattle, but couldn’t escape the looming shadow of academia. Having not completed his Winter Study project’s final paper which required the use of numerous primary and secondary sources, Babson asked a friend at the nearby University of Puget Sound to check out books for him on his paper topic.

“Apart from that, the highlights included smoking cigars with a friend and reveling in the 60-degree weather (the cherry trees were starting to bloom).  I really didn’t want to leave,” Babson said, sighing longingly and gazing out an open window.

Ned Hole ’05, J.J. O’Brien ’05 and Scott Miller ’05 traveled north with Emily Welsh ’05 and Abbey Simmermacher ’05 to Stratton, VT for four days of skiing and riding. Hole boasted of mastering a 180-degree grab on his snowboard, and Miller suffered a minor concussion attempting a 360-degree jump on his skis. Sources close to Miller say he landed on his head.

“We had a great time,” Hole said. “Even though I ran out of gas on the way up the mountain, and the girls set off the smoke detector one night while trying to make toast. Oh, and I won the holding your breath under water contest.”

Ari Kessler ’04, Jon Langer ’04, George Evans ’04, Nick Brandfon ’04 and Tim Patterson ’04 traveled to the end of Long Island where they sat around shirtless on the beach flying kites, eating steaks and drinking Bloody Marys to stay warm. Montauk locals were somewhat disturbed by the sight of five college students buying handles of alcohol at noon on a Monday in January, but the local surf patrol girls were quite impressed.

Matthew Hsieh ’06 took a trip across the Atlantic to Vienna. He made it to five operas and a ballet, sampled sumptuous Austrian cuisine and drank enough fine wine to kill a smallish horse. He also squeezed in visits to the graves of Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms. Hsieh called his cultural extravaganza “a mind-blowing experience in a beautiful city.”

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