The university’s semi-annual exercise in survival skills is fast approaching. When classes end Wednesday, thousands of Badgers are expected to hustle their Vera Bradley duffel bags and half-filled hampers of laundry down to Memorial Union to board buses home for Thanksgiving.
While this task may be brief, the consequences of failure are dire. Whispers of “that one friend who missed the bus last year and had to wait two days to get home to, like, Minnesota” swirl about at every social gathering. The fear is real, especially for students who have neglected to use their segregated-fee funded bus pass all semester and have not been on the mystical transportation method known as “the bus” since high school. Amber Reeves, one such freshman, can already taste the anxiety.
“I was so relieved to have my midterms done, but now I’m unsure if I will overpack my suitcase and leave it unable to fit through the narrow Badger Bus door,” Reeves said.
For the experienced student, the journey and encampment caused by the Badger Bus is much less frightening due to the accumulation of special survival skills.
Observers of this Hunger Games-esque occurrence may see travelers performing the “winter wiggle” toward Langdon Street. Since bicycles cannot be taken on the buses, many students have to not only master this faster style but also relearn how to walk. This brisk walking style, reminiscent of the movement seen in competitive walking competitions, allows for students to arrive at the stop fifteen minutes prior to the bus’s departure despite carrying two large bags filled with unnecessary clothing. Those slowed by these encumbrances do not survive on their trail and fail to board their preferred bus.
Once at the stop, students must brave treacherous conditions such as the wind which hurts their faces and the boy from their psych class who tried to flirt with them via their Facebook DMs. Simply averting glances is enough to avoid pesky classmates, but more drastic measures are needed to avoid the wind whilst standing in the cold for 15 minutes. Senior Brett Paterson, a repeat survivor of the Badger Bus, has a foolproof plan to prevent frostbite.
“I usually just wear a real coat,” Paterson said, “As much as I love to wear my bro tank, I know it’s winter, and I will feel cold. Scarves are pretty nice too, maybe even an ascot, just to keep my neck a little warmer.”
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Once aboard, students are mostly safe as long as they have purchased their tickets ahead of time. One should still be wary of travelers choosing to spend the entire bus ride making a loud phone call and prepare a banging playlist for the ride to distract from this noise, preferably containing early 2000’s pop bops.
While the Badger Bus event has yet to occur this semester, some are already starting to prepare for the spring break edition of this survival exercise.