Chess may be one of the most important games in humanity.
It has taken geniuses and robots to master, has lasted through centuries of sporting, permeated across the globe and found its way onto almost every college campus in the country. Yet despite its prodigious back story, it is still one of the most democratic games, funneling down to just two individuals and their wits.
The College Chess Championship
The illustrious President’s Chess Cup is the ultimate competition for college chess teams, and in the last few decades it hasn't been Yale, Harvard or Princeton that's taken home the trophy, but rather four much less prestigious schools: Webster University, University of Texas at Dallas, University of Maryland Baltimore College and Texas Tech.
And while they’re not Ivy league, these schools play chess like Ohio State plays Football, University of Kentucky plays basketball or Stanford plays Silicon Valley startup—proving that you can find clever and talented kids at any college in the country.
Let’s look at the squads:
We’ll start with the most recently crowned school: Webster University. These masterful chess ballers have come out of nowhere (Webster Grove, Missouri to be exact) to beat out the University of Texas, Harvard and Stanford teams to win the President’s Cup for the past three years. These students take the game seriously, and may have a shot at breaking the national winning-streak record. That’s pretty huge for a school with under 3,000 enrolled undergrads.
The University of Texas at Dallas also have a very impressive chess team, having won the President’s Cup in 2008, 2007, 2002 and coming in second many times between, before and after. They take chess to heart, not just using their expertise to win trophies, but to create awareness for the sport and bring students, teachers and Dallas locals together.
University of Maryland Baltimore College represents Maryland hard--bringing in more trophies than the Terps basketball team or Hopkins Lacrosse teams combined. They’ve won six championships in past fifteen years, but more importantly they’ve built a popular chess community at the school. The club holds outdoor tournaments on their beautiful campus, has expert professors leading their team and devotes plenty of campus space chess play.
Last but not least, the Texas Tech Knight Raiders won the Cup in 2011 and 2012 and were in the championship the last two years. While the school is known for it’s football and basketball teams, it’s this small coterie of chess champs that keep competing at the national level, making chess skills something to be proud of at their school.
At Academbot we honor these chess phenoms, and encourage students at all schools to take a stab at the crown. If you don’t think you’ve got what it takes to be one of the national greats, then just try to be a campus great, or a dorm great. Whatever level you want to compete at, just know that chess legends can be built at any campus in the country.
Binge watching tv shows and movies is as deeply woven into the American Winter holidays as hot chocolate, gift shopping, and football games in the snow.
Those lazy days centered around comfy couches occupied by you, your friends and family exist in a world free of judgement—the phrase “It’s winter break” and “I’m on vacation” obliterate any argument for you to be more productive and less languid.
I mean it’s only fair right? You work hard, you need a rest, and there are just so many awesome things to watch.
The days following your last exam is a time to let go of your stress, sell back all your textbooks and hope that you won’t forget everything you’ve just learned. But at some point during those dormant Winter days you should reflect on those five months of first semester madness.
Winter breaks never last as long as they should. As soon as you get settled into the comfortable nest of life back at home, protected by the “I just had finals I’m on my break” excuse, the time flies by and next thing you know you're re-packing your bag.
Between the first day of break and the last, be sure to take advantage of all the luxuries that you somehow went without. If you do, chances are you’ll have a very good, cherishable break.
It’s common not to know what you want for the holidays until you see it, and it’s common not to know what you want to have in college until it’s too late. Because of this commonality, we’ve made a sweet little list of presents you could ask for that would make your college life easier, more fun and more interesting.
College is just one of those things we take for granted. We think of it as something that we're supposed to do, something we have to do, and definitely not something we should be thankful for.
But that's not right. There are some amazing things about college that are worth thinking about, and worth showing respect for.
So we made a list. It’s a very good list. It took a lot of pondering, a lot of reflection, and we did it to make us all think about just why college is such a spectacular, global tradition. It’s our Thanksgiving Thankful list.
While finals week is undeniably draining, your mind is still in the mood to learn over Winter break. It’s just like having a really tough workout...after you’ve had time to rest, your body starts to want to workout again.
Still, it’s pretty easy to ignore these strange desires. Winter breaks are usually made up of mindless fun, excessive sleeping and a plague-like avoidance of anything academic. If you choose to spend your break in this fashion, go for it. No judgment here.
People like to say that “you find your people in college.” Well, many of us found them in high school and we don’t want to lose them.
In many ways high school friends feel like family. You know each other’s parents. You’re from the same town. You can remember each other with braces. This puts you and them in a very exclusive group that simply cannot accept more members.
So this begs the question, what happens to them now that you’re heading to different schools for four years? The drama will vary, but these following things will happen:
A required meeting with a school professional has been engrained into our psyche as something to not look forward to. We put very little forethought into the matter, wait till the last minute to prepare, and try to keep it as short as possible.
In college you’ll be required to have about one meeting a semester with your student advisor. If the goal here is to roll in, stay put for the 20 minute slot, be agreeable and have your advisor mark “yes” on your account so that you can sign up for the next run of classes, you’re missing the whole point of college.
Linkedin is a site young adults use to become something better.
They set a trajectory for their career, connect with valuable people in their field, and work on defining their mission in the business world. It’s a pretty sweet way to get where you wanna go after college.
Now Linkedin wants future and current college students to use Linkedin Edu.
College campus tours are a bit like a safari. It’s your first time in the wild, you’re mystified by the range of species and how they’re interacting with each other, you’re told to observe, but not to engage.
The thing is, unless you’re a zoologist, or a baboon, it’s tough to know what to be looking for.
Freshmen at St. Mary’s College of Maryland tend to walk to class a little hastier on their birthdays. They keep their head down, their eyes shifty, and their phone and wallet back in the dorm. Of course, these are futile efforts, which are inevitably thwarted by seemingly “good” friends who are commanded by tradition to hunt down the birthday student and toss him or her into the body of water that sits beside the school.
There are hoards of endorphin fueled college students—made up of both non sporty and highly sporty people—who stand color-coded, painted, and proud, waiting for their chance to yell into any camera that comes near. They aren’t fearful of future employers or the concern of their parents. Nor are they foolish bimbos on spring break. They are ancient disciples of a timeless American tradition. They’re college football fans.
The point of listing your extracurricular activities is to give colleges an idea of who you are and not just what you know. Unfortunately most schools don’t have time to meet you or check out your tumblr (where all charming personal nuances lie) so in order to prove you are more then a metric of math and AP Lang, you need to tell them what you do outside of class.
Of course, playing Super Smash Brothers for hours on end or re-reading John Green novels isn’t as impressive as helping the needy, so we usually focus on the later.
Have you ever heard of The Humanities? It’s fine if you haven’t, I hadn’t heard of it either until my senior year of college, which was a little late to mention something so essential to human thinking.
The Humanities is the study of human culture. Big Brother could get thrown in here, but what we’re really talking about is sociology, psychology, philosophy, history and literature. The interesting stuff.
But why are these things so interesting? The short answer, is because people are interesting.