Students across campus are preparing for the Annual Midterms Humblebrag Derby, a Wellesley tradition and student life staple. The Derby, a race to see who can humblebrag the most about their packed schedule during the midterm season, technically runs from late September to finals reading period—but the stress peaks in mid-to-late-October.
The rules are complex and cutthroat: humblebrags are divided into various categories and scored based on how well they fit the parameters of their category. Of the 17 categories, the most common are “Boring Weekend Nights Spent Doing Nothing But Work,” “Negligent of Basic Human Survival Needs” and “Emotionally Insensitive.”
Humblebragging to a group scores more points than humblebragging to an individual, but the score total of an individual is also affected by their unique circumstances. For example, humblebragging about an A- that should have been an A is viewed as a low-hanging fruit — worth just one point — whereas espousing the same humblebrag to someone who got a B- on the same midterm doubles the point value.
Students across campus nominate themselves and their flaky best friends for the Derby. Stacy Brewer ’17, is a top contender—a double major in econ and history, Brewer’s humblebrag record boasts three 5-7 page papers, a midterm in both of her labs, four interview callbacks, six lunch dates canceled on short notice, three instances of emotionally taxing family drama, and two ulcers.
“I had to wake up at 3 a.m. to work out, so I got like, sixteen minutes of sleep last night,” Brewer said smirkingly, scratching nervously at her arm and suppressing a shudder.
When asked why she exercises if she has so little time, Brewer squinted and cocked her head to the side in confusion. Then, she explained her reasoning with a good-natured laugh.
“Even if exercise doesn’t build my resume, it gives me a great body — meaning I can stress-eat during midterms and then complain about a two pound weight gain. And once I lose those two pounds again, that’s two points.”
Brewer then fixed her gaze on a young woman across the dining hall. “That’s my best friend Cassandra. She feels completely unlovable ever since her boyfriend dumped her at the Kendall Chipotle. Once the second the Midterms Derby kicks into high gear, I’m gonna make plans to hang out with her, ask her absolutely nothing about her life, and then tell her how many frat boys’ numbers I collected at Lambda Omega Lambda last night. That’s two points.”
When asked for an interview, Brewer’s best friend, Cassandra Hubbard ’17, happily obliged, noting that she only had about ten free minutes. But Hubbard had an agenda of her own, scoring several Derby points during her interview.
“Stacy thinks she’s so busy because she’s an econ major,” Hubbard said, rolling her eyes. “Just because I’m a French major, she just assumes I’m totally free all the time. I have a twelve-page primary source analysis due in six hours. I might even be busier than her.”
By invalidating her close friend’s stress to suggest that she’s busier, Hubbard successfully completed what Derby fans call a “Drag and Brag,” earning four points. If Hubbard had dismissed struggles in her best friend’s personal life as well, she could have earned two more—but she was unwilling to play dirty.
“I think I really do want the best for my best friend,” Hubbard admitted. “As long as it’s a type of success of equal or slightly lesser value than my own.”
Even though this dueling duo continues to rack up points in the race, it’s still anybody’s game. Winners of the Derby receive an overachiever care package, including official JSTOR merchandise, chamomile tea, stress balls, Ibuprofen and a single 250 mg Xanax so that they can enjoy two hours of free time and watch a movie without feeling overwhelming guilt.
Sabrina Leung ‘18 is the Digital Editor majoring in International Relations-Political Science with a minor in History. She is best reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @sabrinatzleung on Twitter.