As the fog of midterm season lifts from McGill, the sinking feeling of not-too-distant finals comes to replace it. The stress that this time in the semester brings appears to be the reason behind the “1-minute scream.”
The second annual “1-minute scream” took place outside of Service Point on Nov. 7 from 3:00 p.m. to 3:01 p.m. Organized by students Emma Cona (U2 Science) and William Bouchard (U2 Engineering), the event had a simple premise: Meet in front of Service Point on the downtown campus, scream for a full minute, then disperse. By 2:55 p.m., a small crowd had already gathered, with students accumulating in the center of McTavish street.
Last year’s event took place on Oct. 29, and was run by Ananya Nair, Sam Ling, Maheen Akter, and Cathy Jing. Due to the success of last year’s scream, Cona and Bouchard wanted to recreate the event this year.
Cona explained that despite the success of the first event, the organizers were unwilling to inflate the “1-minute scream” past its humble origins as a lighthearted event.
“It’s just a fun event,” Cona said. “Its [purpose] is more to gather people than it is to scream. It’s fun to scream, but screaming doesn’t help with midterms. [It’s about] knowing that everyone is […] in the same boat as you.”
When asked whether the “1-minute scream” reflects any student feelings regarding the lack of a Fall Reading Week, Cona was not willing to indulge a deeper interpretation of the event.
“There’s not […] a big train of thought behind it, it’s just a one-minute scream,” Cona said.
While attendance was bolstered by student stress and a desire for community, many students simply turned out for fun and catharsis. Patricia Danielidis (U1 Music and Education) explained that she attended for fun.
“I saw the Facebook event and realized this [event] is one big meme,” Danielidis said. “This is going to be a fun time to just go and scream with my friend [to] just get our stress out for one minute.”
Danielidis was not alone in her reasoning, as most attendees seemed to be there in search of the relief that screaming offers. Erika Arless (U1 Education) was also there for the stress-relieving benefits.
“It’s about the catharsis,” Arless said. “It’s about releasing […] stress in a funny and enjoyable way with your peers.”
Regarding the genesis of an event like this, Arless and Danielidis acknowledged that the lack of breaks might contribute to students coming together and taking matters into their own hands: The stress of midterms, assignments, and finals give students good reason to scream. Danielidis expressed her desire for a Fall Reading Week.
“I think a reading week would be really helpful, to just have a few days to get it […] together,” Danielidis said.
Arless agreed with such sentiments on the lack of recuperation time available to students.
“Because there’s [no] Fall Reading Week, we’ve just gotta scream!” Arless said.
Whether students in attendance were eager to release their school-related stress, come together with like-minded students, or to simply scream, the event was a success. People came, screamed, and left in an orderly fashion, presumably less anxious than they arrived.
The available Service Point employees declined to comment.