They came, they screamed, they felt better

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The next generation tries the primal scream


  • NYU students let it rip. Credit: Teddy Son

Fifty or so New York University students took a break from studying for finals on Friday afternoon, Dec. 14, to scream their heads off during an event with the aptly-named title “Existentially Scream In Front of the Washington Square Arch.”

The scream fest was hosted by NYU undergrad Iffat Nur, whose Facebook post neatly, if somewhat inelegantly, summed up the purpose of the gathering: “Y’all, finals suck, I wanna scream, I need people to scream with me, come through, it’s a rager.”

Though the turnout was considerably smaller than the 328 people who clicked their intention to attend, participants deemed it a success nevertheless. “It seems like an iconic thing to do as a college student,” said one. “It’s a good social gathering as well.”

Nur knew from the start that the event could be seen as “cringy,” but he carried on. “There’s a massive difference between just one person screaming and forty to fifty people screaming, because with forty to fifty people, it doesn’t feel as weird.”

According to several screamers, the reasons for screaming ranged from stress over finals to depression to a more generalized, pent-up stress. “For them, it was probably just a good five to ten minutes to let out what they’ve been feeling in a very raw form,” said Nur.

Despite its success, “Existentially Scream In Front of the Washington Square Arch” seems likely to be a one-time event. It’s existential, for one thing. And, as Nur explains, “a lot of these events depend on their novelty. If you make it a regular thing, what you find is that less people are likely to come.”

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