A few weeks ago, my entire floor section in Redding got involved in a game called “Spoons” (known in other settings as “Assassins”). The rules of the game were as follows: every player received a target whom they had to get out by tapping them with a spoon and getting video evidence of the act. The only safe zones were bathrooms, classrooms, and in Redding. Every day, an “immunity”— something that you had to do or wear, like wearing socks over shoes or holding a fresh fruit in your hand all day — would be released by the game master, and if you participated, you would be protected from being taken out by whomever was after you. The game would last until there was a winner. 

Now at first, I thought to myself, “This game is potentially an avoidable stressor in my life — is this something I really need to do?” And then I decided, yes, yes, it is. And so it began, the playful civil war that would completely take over an entire week of our otherwise very important academic lives. 

The first half of the week was heavy with intensity. I felt both excited to be a part of the game along with my residents and apprehensive about whomever had me as a target. But most of all, I felt like I was constantly on the run. On Tuesday night, as I was heading to my 7:00-10:00 Chemistry Lab with an apple in my right hand (the immunity for that day), one of my residents crept up behind me and tried to swat the fruit out of my hand. He then proceeded to chase me across the Harrington turf until we were both wheezing from the unfamiliar feeling of physical exertion. Thankfully, I was able to escape that time. 

I managed to evade the majority of my floor for the rest of the week — that is, until Saturday rolled around. At this point, there were only three of us left, including myself. Towards the end of the day, an announcement was made that there was no more immunity, targets were invalid so that anybody could get anyone else out, and everywhere in Redding except for bathrooms was considered unsafe. Well, I guess my stakeout in my room had backfired after all. My two residents and I chased each other in and around Redding for an hour and a half, hiding in quiet study lounges and building armies with the Fallen Tributes who had started to take sides.

The final moments of Spoons had two of us circling each other in the middle of the hallway like Simba and Scar from The Lion King. It was a heated moment, each of us lunging at the other’s shoulder. I even contemplated rolling into a somersault and getting her ankles, but I would probably just end up hurting myself. In the end, she had the longer spoon and hit me straight in the clavicle. We had our winner, it was all over, and I had sadly lost. 

It took me a while to recover from my battle scars, physical and emotional, but, in retrospect, I realize that there are some important lessons that I gleaned from this friendly war. Here’s what I learned: 

Acknowledge Your Limits: I had never played any version of Spoons before, so this was my first time involved in a game as ruthless and rambunctious as this one. Therefore, I decided that it was probably best to lay low and not cause any vendettas against myself. I carried on throughout my week as normally as possible, showing that I had no intention to strike, and that I wasn’t a player that anybody had to be worried about.

Always Have a Strategy: Seeing as how I didn’t quite know what I was doing, I didn’t feel ready to go out on a wild rage and take out multiple people in a day, like how some of the more experienced students on my floor did. Instead, while people were being eliminated left and right and the list Fallen Tributes kept growing longer, I let the others do the work for me and didn’t attempt to eliminate anyone until I was in the Top Three.

Look Out for Yourself: A significant part of this game was to gain intel, and while it was in our best interest to do so here and there, it was also important to only trust a few people. I had to keep in mind that those who I might have thought were my allies might not have actually been on my side, and rather an informant of one of the other players. And, most crucially, I had to have a backup plan to my backup plan if things didn’t quite work out when I decided to reveal information. In many situations, you are your own best friend.

When I kicked off the semester, I would never have thought that my residents would chase me around campus with kitchen utensils for a week, nor did I imagine that I would make it to the final round almost unscathed and without tapping out a single soul. But Spoons Week turned out to be one of my favorite collection of memories from this school year so far, a battle that brought us all closer together. I’m just happy that I can finally eat with friends again instead of rushing takeout across campus to cower inside an academic building. I wonder if Team 1A is rarin’ for Round 2…Spring Spoons, anyone?

This Month’s #CoffeeRoast: 

I have been beyond thrilled to see the finished product of The Nest, the new 24/7 Commons in Morris Library, ever since construction began. And now that the place is all ready to go, I met with a couple of friends last week to try the spot out and grab some coffee from Tasting Grounds

Since I wasn’t sure about the quality of coffee, I decided to play it safe and order a hot caramel macchiato. Basic, I know, but if a café can fix a great macchiato, I feel like that sets a baseline level of trust in the rest of their brews. Maybe it was my mental exhaustion from finals season or the ambience of The Nest itself, but that caramel macchiato was the most comforting cup of coffee I have had in a long time! It was not too sweet, with that sharp hint of bitterness that coffee should have, and best of all, there was a heaping helping of milk foam before I reached the espresso — delicious!

The pricing was reasonable as well, and it definitely cheered me up after a tough week. I can’t wait to try some of the other coffees: the very enticing cinnamon spice latte is next on my list!

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