As Flunk Day loomed, Knox students fervently awaited its arrival by talking about it in classes, out of classes and most importantly on the Wiki Fire.
The Wiki Fire is a website that offers students information about Knox and serves as a hub of Flunk Day predictions. The website can be edited anonymously, and many students do so, contributing to Flunk Day hype and guessing.
Junior Alyssa Gill admits to frequently editing the website.
“I check the page as much as I possibly can,” she said. “It’s only during Flunk season that [the Wiki Fire] finds its true purpose.”
The Wiki Fire has been the source of many Flunk Day theories, and many students take it very seriously.
“I pretty much refer to the Wiki Fire for everything, especially when it comes to Flunk Day,” freshman Lizzie Wisdom said. She checks the website daily and puts stock into what is posted, although she does not edit it.
“I’m one of those lurkers,” Wisdom said. “I learn from the words of others and then kind of steal them and talk about Flunk Day to other people like I know what I’m talking about. Like this one time, I told all the girls in my suite that it was Flunk Day and of course, they believed me.”
Though Wisdom claims to believe most of what is posted on the Wiki Fire, some students agree that the website has little bearing on when Flunk Day will actually be.
Flunk Day predictions are not new to Knox College, and before the inception of the Wiki Fire, predictions were primarily passed through word of mouth.
“We’d go based on the weather. We always noticed that they mow the grass at midnight before Flunk Day out in the Quads if they haven’t gotten around to it yet, and they want it to be cut on Flunk Day,” visiting Professor of Physics Nathalie Haurberg ‘06 said. During her time as a student at Knox, Haurberg and her friends made predictions based on the weather, and ruled out major days such as Admitted Students Days.
“Somebody told someone something somewhere. Half the times it was just a scare … It was just a campus wide word of mouth type thing, and everybody just had their individual ways of thinking … people tried to make some sort of statistical approximation. … We just made complex algorithms, I guess,” Haurberg said.
Students were also invited to call the Flunk Day Hotline, a number that students could call to find out whether or not it was Flunk Day. Students are still invited to call the number.
“People really relied on the hotline, and someone in my dorm always called the hotline. We definitely didn’t have laptops or phones that we had everywhere,” Haurberg said.
Still, people have various theories about Flunk Day, with and without the Wiki Fire.
“I feel like the gods are telling me that Flunk Day is May 7 or May 6,” Wisdom said. She saw an email posted on the Wiki Fire that claimed Flunk Day would be on May 7.
Gill, however, claimed that Flunk Day predictions are solely instinctive.
“There’s a lyric from R. Kelly’s ‘Bump and Grind’ that’s ‘My mind’s telling me no, but my body’s telling me yes.’ It’s definitely intuitive. I have a feeling it will be next Wednesday [May 1],” she said.
As of last week, Haurberg was still making predictions.
“Especially with the cold weather, I’m going to go with May 15 right in the middle of May,” she said. “I don’t know if I have any real reasoning. I feel like it’s a late type of year. It’s just a guess. There’s nothing to it.”“It’s all in good fun. It’s silly, and everyone just gets into it,” Gill said.