Saturday, February 11, 2012

According to St. Andrews students, passing exams isn't all that challenging as long as you study (somewhat) regularly and don't drink too much (meaning no more than three or four nights a week). Unless, of course, you step on the "PH"in front of St. Savator's (pictured below). Then you could be in serious trouble.

                                        

                                                           St. Salvator's on North Street 

The "PH" stands for Patrick Hamilton, who enrolled as a student at the University in 1524 and later became a very influential member of the Scottish reformation. Charged on 13 accounts of heresy, he was burned at the stake in front of the University's St. Salvator's chapel (where chapel, morning prayer, and evensong are still held every week). The now famous "PH" marks the place of his death and the local superstition is that Hamilton continues to watch over the spot, cursing anyone who steps on it with the terrible fate of failing exams. In order to wash off the curse, students can participate in the May Dip, the annual swim in the freezing cold North Sea at sunset on April 31st. (There are also other, less appropriate options, but I'll leave those out for now.)

I finally got to class this week and, I must admit, it felt great to be back to work. I'm especially excited for my medieval philosophy class, which will focus mainly on St. Thomas Aquinas. My professor gave an incredible introductory lecture on the background and history of medieval philosophy, starting with the ancient Israelites and ending in the 12th Century. He also gave us hand-drawn timelines (which is about as cool as it gets).

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