Scavenger Hunt and the Art of the ‘Spin’

image taken from “The Hunter Games” The New Yorker, July 2, 2012

Scavenger Hunt is a time honored (and may I say, awesome) tradition here at the University of Chicago. What Scav Hunt truly is, is every quintessential college experience plus ten billion other, unimaginable experiences boiled down to four days of stress, emotion, and uninterrupted, outlandish, extraordinary fun! Thus, I hereby declare that Scav Hunt = college + life + fairy dust. Try to refute that, philosophy majors!

One thing I hear a lot is that people don’t include the right things on their resumes and cover letters. Many people think, “No employer cares whether or not I was on the baseball team” or “So I went on an art retreat over spring break, why would I want to put that on my resume?” Well I’m here to tell you, if you can spin it, make it sound important, and/or use it to spice up your resume, it should be included (up to a point of course; don’t put everything you’ve ever done on your resume, just pick out the interesting stuff).

Scav Hunt epitomizes just this type of sideline activity; it’s fun, yeah, but how many people would really put it on their resume? Well, I, for one, would and have.

Scav Hunt is stressful. So are most jobs at least once in a while. If you can handle four days of testing your skills in ways you never imagined, managing people and/or being nagged by the people managing you, you can probably handle that presentation your boss told you about today for the meeting tomorrow morning.

Scav Hunt requires teamwork. There’s no way around it Scav forces people, often total strangers, to work together on new (and strange) projects in a confined space on a deadline. Dividing and conquering is the only way to get some items done, while others require four people to lock themselves in room with each other all night until the stupid juggling automaton finally works.

Scav Hunt takes organization and leadership skills. You may have no clue what you’re doing, but if you can’t pull yourself together and help other people figure out what they should be doing, then you’re going to lost really quickly.

Scav Hunt takes time management skills. It’s inevitable, you will end up finishing that last three-point-one-four-one-five-nine point item ten minutes before judging, but others take more time; Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was a giant, rolling Bantha that comfortably fits four adults.

Scav Hunt forces you to network. Calling up old connections or forging new ones is the only way to get researchers at the South Pole (yes the actual geographic South Pole) to take a picture of themselves holding up your team’s logo in front of the sign that says “Geographic South Pole Here,” at the South Pole. And once more for good measure, South Pole.

Scav Hunt requires dedication. If you don’t have dedication, it won’t matter how many of the above skills you possess, there’s no way in hell you’re going to get through four days of Scav alive. Scav is something only real men can do.

And more than anything else, Scav Hunt takes personality. Being generic and/or boring doesn’t get you very far when you need to create a fully functional, seven layered zoetrope or carve a literary scene into the book from which it originates.

All of these skills, and more, characterize the Scav experience and more importantly, the Scavvy; the person who can do all of this, plus take two midterms, plus go to classes, plus take over the world (also known as the average UChicago student). And if you didn’t notice, they also happen to be fundamental qualities that employers look for when they are reading your resume and cover letter.

Therefore, I am right and I have proved it: you can spin anything, also you should do Scav.


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