One could look up the origins of the Egyptian pyramids in an ancient-history textbook—but for
OM is a creative problem-solving competition that consists of an eight-minute prepared skit performed by the team members, as well as a surprise problem addressed on the spot. The IC students’ topic was “the classics”; they had to come up with an original explanation for how any ancient Egyptian structure was constructed.
Their skit had to do with a childish pharaoh, a dimwitted servant, and a juicer—and their presentation brought them first-place honors. The secret to winning? “Humor,” says OMer (as they call themselves) Garrett Stiger ’08, who helped start the College organization. “One judge just wrote, ‘Funny shit.’ ” For their spontaneous problem, five team members found themselves in a room with a cardboard mockup of a computer—three times normal size—and had to respond to judges’ questions about the machine.
Funny, yes. But speech communication professor and faculty adviser Jodi Cohen points out that OMers also get educational benefits: life skills such as creative problem solving and small-group work.
Stiger agrees: “[An organization] sent me a list of skills you need to succeed in the ‘real’ world, and I bet 90 percent were the same as the ones we learn in
Fellow OMer Alyssa Chamberlin ’09, who helped Stiger start the group, concurs that the skills learned aren’t always the same as those learned in the classroom. “You don’t have to be [especially] smart to be in