Lingo That Swarthmore Students Need to Adopt

Lots of Swarthmore students are comfortable with Swat lingo such as the Swat Seven and Swawkward. Although this lingo describes many common experiences at Swarthmore, there are plenty of shared feelings that we have no way to describe. To do so, we need to draw inspiration from other colleges’ creative ways to communicate.


This term originated from our fellow Quaker Consortium member, the University of Pennsylvania. SABS stands for Seen and Be Seen. People who are SABS-y like to be in public places such as the chairs on Parish Porch and the tables in the center of Sci. People who are SABS-y like people knowing what they are up to. The term SABS-y is similar to the term facetime-y originated at Darthmouth for students who you just see everywhere on Campus. At Swarthmore, there are a lot of students who you see everywhere whether it’s studying in McCabe or on the executive board for a club. I think the term SABS-y can be expanded to the online realm as well. There are many students who update their class’s GroupMe, Facebook, and Instagram as it is the place to be seen.


At NYU, a Kevin is someone who does not engage with fellow students on social media before arriving on campus. Oftentimes, a Kevin does not have any social media at all. Because many Swatties form a community on their class’s Instagram, Discord, GroupMe, and Facebook before arriving on campus, it is nice to describe students who did not engage. Many times “Kevin”s at Swarthmore spend their first weeks wondering how everyone already knows each other since we just got here. Luckily, a Kevin still finds home at Swarthmore even if it not on the school’s numerous Facebook pages.

Floating Duck Syndrome

The term, coined at Stanford University, refers to the feeling that every student appears to be floating on water as they seem to navigate academics and social life with ease. However, underneath, like a duck swimming, they are paddling like crazy, invisible to all the other ducks. The Floating Duck Syndrome needs greater awareness at Swarthmore. Although all Swatties are thriving in pursuing their interests, we are also struggling underneath. You are not alone in fighting to balance work, play, and sleep. It is important to discuss these feelings to support one another.


MIT students use the term punt when they choose to goof off instead of tackling the hours of assignments they have. At Swarthmore, this usually manifests itself in pretending you are going to get a latte in Sci to encourage yourself to study but instead enjoying the latte while chatting with your friends. Punting is a natural part of college life, so you do not need to feel too stressed that you were not productive(unless your paper is due at midnight that night, then you can feel a little bad).


A Wesleyan student might be described as a WesCeleb. A WesCeleb is someone that everyone knows on campus, even if just by name. As a smaller campus, Swarthmore definitely has a lot of SwatCelebs. Oftentimes, it is a similar group of students to those who are SABS-y or facetime-y. However, sometimes SwatCelebs are just students everyone knows are a genius or, during virtual school, students who are friendly in breakout rooms. SwatCelebs give all students a common ground because everyone has a loose connection to each other through a SwatCeleb.

Mischief Managed

Just like at Swarthmore, students at Harvey Mudd College will post ISO (in search-offs) when they are looking for anything from a roll of tape to a cup of flour to an apartment to sublet. However, Harvey Mudd students’ fun twist is they write Mischief Managed, a reference to Harry Potter, once they have obtained the item they were looking for. As Swatties love Harry Potter and many spots on campus are practically Hogwarts, this is a twist Swarthmore students should adopt. It also makes sure that you do not end up with 10 rolls of tape in your room once you post an ISO because Swarthmore students tend to be overly kind.

Leave a Reply