Search History of a Swattie

If there is one thing every Swarthmore student does, it is use our online resources. Whether it be searching for the campus shuttle schedule, the menu for a new restaurant in Media, or the true answer to a disputed trivia question, Swarthmore’s wifi network, eduroam, is put to use in a variety of ways. Let’s take a look at my actual search history from the last few months.

Screenshot of a search history entry reading "Media Wawa Line | SEPTA"

In case you needed another reminder, Swarthmore College is located in eastern Pennsylvania and our regional SEPTA train line is partially named after our popular convenience store– Wawa! My friends and I take full advantage of the train station we have at the base of campus, which takes us directly into Center City, Philadelphia in less than a half hour. We have gone into the city for concerts, to visit the art museum, and even to simply walk along the Schuylkill River. Visits that are sure to become more frequent this fall once all Swarthmore students are given SEPTA passes for the academic year for free access to regional railways and buses.

Screenshot of a search history entry reading "Semantle"

Semantle is a word guessing game similar to Wordle! Imagine if Wordle included every word in the English dictionary and, instead of telling you what letters are in the right places, it told you if the word you guessed is semantically and/or syntactically similar to the word of the day. Sounds fun, right? My sociolinguistics professor, Kirby Conrad, introduced my class to this game and I have been a loyal fan ever since (even when I am on guess 200 with no words closer than “cold”).

The website that contains anything and everything a Swarthmore student could need: MySwat. It is here I go to submit timesheets for my on-campus jobs, view and request transcripts (that notably lack a GPA or class rank*), register for classes, view housing and meal plan options for the coming semesters, access my health portal through the Worth Health Center, see financial aid decisions, and so much more. If there is one website that would make an appearance in the search histories of all Swatties, it would be this one.

*As a way of dissuading competition between students, Swarthmore does not publish GPAs or class rank on our transcripts.

This is the website for JobX, which is home to any and all on-campus student employment opportunities offered by different departments and offices! During the school year, I work as a: desk attendant in the Matchbox (the College’s fitness center), videographer for Game Day Operations (Athletics Department), Pirate (Math Department TA), Resident Assistant, and Tour Guide. I love all my jobs and the different opportunities they provide to meet people and gain different skills!

For the sake of my pride and the sanity of my math professors past and present, I will not be admitting how often natural logs appear in my search history. That being said, one of my favorite things about Swarthmore is the supportive environment fostered by students, faculty, and staff, where everyone is comfortable asking “dumb” questions* or admitting to the internet that the questions were asked!

*No question is a dumb question if you learn from it 🙂

Should I clean out my inbox? Perhaps.

Does this appear a couple of times an hour in my search history? Absolutely.

My inbox is constantly being filled with different campus opportunities directed either towards the entire student body or specific clubs whose email lists I joined the fall of my first year. It was through an email that I first learned about trivia nights hosted by Crumb Cafe (the student-run late-night cafe with life-changing milkshakes), Campus Philly events (free events catered towards college students in the Philly area), and numerous study-break activities during finals week hosted by the Office of Student Engagement.

Ah yes, WebWorks (online components of my math homework), or, as I like to call them, the bane of my existence. I understand you have to do math to learn it, and sure, the instant feedback on the accuracy of my responses is nice, but whenever I think about WebWorks, I think about the Calculus 2 problem I attempted 37 times before finally giving in and making the treacherous 4 minute walk from my dorm room to the academic side of campus to ask a Pirate (math TA) for help.

As we enter an increasingly digitized world, my search history helps paint a picture of the ways I choose to spend my time. These are some of the many websites I visit on an hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly basis, but they begin to portray what a day in the life of a Swarthmore student may look like. A day filled with classes and learning, naturally, but also hours to fill with the activities of our choosing.