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[Protips] Surviving 55 Days Of Cafe

It’s a tradition unlike any other.

No, I’m not talking about The Masters. I’m talking about the Fifth Annual 55 Days Of Cafe which starts today and runs through the Saturday of Finals Week. As an alumnus of this event and frequent purveyor of Cafe 210, here are some protips for all prospective participants:

Make sure you can afford it

If you so choose to accept this challenge, you will spend a hefty chunk of change over the next two months. There’s no getting around that. So take a look and budget so you have enough for that plate of skillet fries AND your electric bill. To help you plan, this tip has two corollaries.

  1. Know the specials – Everyday there is a special at Cafe. Whether it be $2.50 burger baskets on Mondays, $2 Cafe teas on Wednesdays or $5.25 Miller Lite pitchers whenever you go, the specials are a way to keep your costs down.
  2. Don’t be ashamed of the $2 Coca-Cola – The great thing about 55 Days is that literally everyone (well, literally everyone over 21) can do it because you don’t have to buy alcohol. There were many days last year where I was busy or just didn’t feel like hanging out for an extended period of time, so I got my Coke for $2.12 (after tax), downed it in 30 seconds, gave my number and was on my way. Cheap and effective.

Use the Buddy System

55 Days can be like quitting smoking or going on a diet. Some days, you just don’t feel like going. The Buddy System will help you with this by having someone else give you the motivation to get off your couch and head to 210 West College. Plus, 55 Days is about senior togetherness. Don’t be the one to stray from the pack. Get your routine set up with your friends: lunch on Mondays, Cafe-oke on Tuesdays, etc etc etc.

Show your receipt early

Nothing is worse than heading to Cafe at 8pm, spending $50 on skillet fries and teas, not leaving until last call and then remembering once you are passed out in your bed that you forgot to show the bartender your receipt to get counted for the day. My advice, if you plan on staying until black-out stage, buy your first drink, close your tab and then head to the keeper of the list. You can be care-free after that.

Be respectful/personable

There are awesome people working at Cafe. Don’t make their lives any harder than they need to be. This includes: Be a decent tipper, be courteous when the line at the bar is three-deep, don’t throw up over the back porch and fear that you’ll never get in again, and so on. Get to know the bartenders during the slow periods of the day. They’re very friendly and have some great stories if you want to take the time to listen.

You have to be there for 55 days straight. You don’t want the evil eye for 54 of them.

Come up with a plan for busier days/party nights

You don’t want a failure in strategy to cost you that chance of having your name on the plaque. Plan ahead. You know that Blue/White Weekend will be ridiculous. Go before you head to the stadium when it might be a little less ridiculous. Going to Indigo on a Wednesday night? Plan on heading to Cafe for lunch that day so you don’t have to miss the end of Go Go Gadget’s set and buy a shot at 1:30 a.m. 55 Days is like a battle and you have to have the right battle plan to survive.

Seniors, relish this opportunity for your last bit of fun at Penn State. These last two months will be done with before you know it.

2011 “55 Days” partners in crime Caity Rogowski and Rachael McKelvey contributed to this post. 

About the Author

Dan Vecellio

Dan is a graduate student in meteorology, hailing from Bradford, Pennsylvania. His interests include sports, Penn State and commons cheesesteaks. Feel free to contact me through my email or follow me on Twitter.

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