The Return of mySwat, and the Ensuing Hilariosity.

August 4, 2008

As someone who is transferring into Swarthmore, I am well aware that hilariosity is not a word. However, as someone who is anxiously waiting to get to the library and snatch up the latest book in the Georgia Nicholson series that I have been coveting since childhood, I will continue to use it.

Moving on.

Today Swarthmore fixed my mySwat! Yay! It turns out it was exactly what I had thought had happened. Since I’m a transfer, someone accidentally registered me as a returning student as opposed to an incoming new student. So any future (or present) transfers, just contact Dean Garikai Campbell, and he’ll fix it for you. (Also, he sent me an detailed email responding to my blog! Phwoar!)

Anyway, I was finally able to access all my information for myself, yay! I’m not going to worry about the placement tests until I get there and speak to someone. Life is short, and I’m not going to exacerbate my genetic predisposition for high blood pressure attempting a calculus test.

Something that did crack me up though was how serious Swat is about the swimming test. Apparently, according to my mom, someone may have drowned on or off campus before or after they graduated, and the test has been implemented ever since. For anyone that doesn’t know, the test text reads:

Passing the swim test is a requirement for graduation. The swim test is a 15 minute survival test. To pass, you must

  1. enter the pool by jumping or diving into the deep end,
  2. comfortably swim 4 consecutive lengths of the pool without stopping at either end or in the middle, and then
  3. continue swimming or move to an area of the deep end to float or tread water for the remainder of the 15 minutes.
    If you cannot pass the test, we will determine which of the 3 levels of beginning swimming you belong and you should register in the fall for the appropriate class. Note that beginning swimming classes are normally only offered in the fall semester.

Now, I can swim. I had swimming lessons, I enjoy swimming, yada yada yada. The thing is, I’m not what you would call exceptionally fit. Or fit. Or remotely by any stretch of the imagination fit. The last time I swam laps was when I swam about 150 laps in an hour, dehydrated myself, and had my roommate take me to the hospital. So while I’m not too stressed about the swim test, treading water for eight or nine minutes probably isn’t going to be the most fun thing.

What was really hilarious was my friend Jess‘s reaction. Here’s a dramatic reenactment:
Me: So I have to take this stupid swim test. I have to dive in, swim four laps without stopping, then tread water until my fifteen minutes are up.
Jess: WHAT?! Why?
Me: I don’t know. Someone may have drowned or…I’m not really clear on the details.
Jess: Is it because Swarthmore is an ISLAND, and it’s necessary to your survival on campus?
Me: Yes.

Have a great day,
The Transfer Student

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3 Responses to “The Return of mySwat, and the Ensuing Hilariosity.”

  1. Dina Says:

    Oh god, the Swim Test.

    If you have had swimming lessons/like swimming, you will be fine. It is a test in not drowning, it is not a test in swimming. You can even do the 4 laps and just float on your back for the rest of the time. Or spend 15 minutes doing the 4 laps (which I did). Your CAs are the ones who record whether you “passed” or not, and I don’t know anyone who didn’t pass. I can’t really swim and I managed to pass. I almost drowned, actually. But I did it! Doing it with your CA group is really fun, because you kind of fool around and laugh, or support the people who are panicking about it (like me last year, haha, being the one panicking and not so much helping anyone).

    The thing about someone drowning is basically an urban legend, apparently every single school that still has a swim test has that legend as the reason for the test. On my tours (I’m a tour guide) I tell kids it’s because Swarthmore doesn’t want you to get this great education and then drown in a puddle. Or maybe Swarthmore really is an island.


  2. Haha, this is what Dean Campbell emailed me after reading this. My dad, a Swat alum, is still convinced that SOMEONE drowned SOMEWHERE…like a donor’s kid or something. But yeah, it seems like a big myth, no one really has any details haha.

  3. lisetteder Says:

    Hi Augusta, I found your blog from your facebook. I also was a bit worried about that swim test. I mean, I swam like a fish when I was little, but I hate feeling like I’ve doused myself in chlorine and hate the feeling of my hair and skin after I’ve gotten out of a pool, and plus I just find swimming boring, so I’ve avoided swimming pools altogether for the past several years. I have no idea how well I can swim. But everyone has told me it’s almost impossible to fail if you’ve EVER been in the water and lived through it, basically. So I guess everything will be fine.

    Also, the calculus placement test? I never took Calculus either. The last math class I took was Algebra 2, four whole years ago. I guess I’ll be taking the Calculus Readiness test, although I’m not sure if I’ll be pursuing any sort of math at Swarthmore. Did you read about the Calculus Readiness Test? That’s probably what you’ll be taking if you didn’t take calc either, right? Nothing to stress about, I don’t think.

    And Dean Campbell READS YOUR BLOG?!?! So cool!! *waves hi to Dean Campbell*
    I know that at my high school, we had a pool until it was filled in a couple decades ago (my high school’s building is ooooolllllllddddd), and legend had it that the pool was filled in because someone crept into the dark basement that held our pool one night and drowned, not knowing the pool existed. I guess it’s just fun to pretend someone once drowned at your school? I don’t know! Long live urban legends.

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