Board-Games and Field-Work

Towards the start of April, I went to not one, but two board game parties – both for the birthdays of some Chicagoans. Sarah from the Arboretum and Katie who is Arb-adjacent, the housemate of someone who works at the Morton. I finally got to play Settlers of Catan, a game I’ve wanted to play for about a year but never found the opportunity to – although simple in its basic rules, a lot of strategy can be implemented. Lately, I’ve come to realise that I enjoy these kinds of events much more than going out to a crowded club or bar, something that I certainly enjoyed during the previous two years at university. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m in a new place with new people that has pushed me to enjoy a more quiet setting over a high energy one.

I enjoyed my first Seder at the start of Passover, complete with vegan Matzah ball soup and many cups of wine. There was a condensed reading which was very informational and interactive – a piece of Matzah, the afikoman, was hidden before the service and since there were no children present to look for it, we did. Also, being the youngest at this dinner meant that I read a specific part of the text.

Over the at the Field Museum, I used the Bioanalyzer for the first time, which was slightly daunting if only for the fact that each individual chip costs around $60. I also attended another talk, this one by Nathan Lord on jewel beetles, their incandescence, and how and what they see. Fascinating stuff, stretching over a broad range of disciplines from biochemistry to taxonomy. Another Super Speaker, Meg Staton, was at the Morton Arboretum in early April also, presenting on a citizen science app, TreeSnap, which aims to help affiliated scientists gather data on specific trees such as the American Chestnut or Ash trees.

Back in the field, I was put to work outside as the prairie restoration project is coming alive again after Winter. The prairie needed to be burnt to rid the site of last year’s dead growth, and I assisted Mary-Claire in readying the plots so that they were in the best condition for ignition. Sadly, I missed the actual fire, as the conditions were so good that the burn team completed their work in a flash.

A Night In On Campus

With University fast approaching, you might be panicked about the social side of thing. Making friends was something I worried about, but what about once you have friends – but don’t like the idea of clubbing? If you aren’t keen on going out, whether it be to Liverpool, Ormskirk or Social, but still want to socialise or do something different, here’s a bunch of options you might want to consider.

Staying in, not drinking

If you’re not a fan of drinking – don’t fret! You’re not the only one, and you’ll be sure to find others you aren’t that keen on it either; societies and the fresher’s Facebook page/group are a great resource for finding others. (Of course, maybe you do like to drink, but just not this particular night).

Why not host a movie night? Either decide on a genre or specific film beforehand or vote once everyone has gathered (try and persuade the guest with the best tv/most comfortable seats to host 😉 ). If you’re not feeling a film, you could play some board/tabletop games, nothing tests a friendship like a game of Monopoly (and did you know that Edge Hill have their very own version?) Still fancy a game but not of the board variety? Why not play a murder mystery or a DnD campaign?

Staying in, but drinking

So you ARE a fan of drinking but still don’t (feel) like clubbing. The above options still apply obviously, but if you feel like it, you could co-opt most of the above to include drinking. For example, a movie night featuring some drinking games – my

suggestions would be the Rocky Horror drinking game, a Harry Potter drinking game, or anime roulette. Many board games too can be adapted to include drinking, including chess! Outside of board games, there are always the usual drinking games (eg. Irish poker, Ring of Fire, the Picolo app), but might I bring Paranoia to your attention – it’s not a drinking game, but better played not quite sober.

Another thing to consider is a live reading drinking game – very similar to the movie drinking games, but this time with a book or my personal favourite, a fanfiction – specifically My Immortal.

(Just remember to respect your flatmates and neighbours by keeping the noise down when it gets late and following securities wishes if you get a noise complaint.)

Something else on campus

Let’s not forget that Edge Hill campus’ Art’s Centre hosts a number of events throughout the year. There’s Free Film Friday, an amazing event held almost every Friday of the academic year that I have made use of many times; Open Mic Nights, held numerous times a year; and plenty of other performances and productions held all across the year.