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“Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!”

I will not be late to school.
I will not be late to school.
I will not… oh who am I kidding. I will be late. Again.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – but I am not late usually. I am quite punctual, in fact. However, I have a confession to make: seems that I react negatively to winter mornings. I just can’t wake up easily in the morning. No “rise and shine” for me – my morning self is slowly becoming grumpier than the original grumpy cat.

This does not necessarily lead up to me being late for something, be it work (never, to be honest), school, or other appointments. It just means I need a breakfast of champions, a coffee strong enough to wake the dead and… The academic quarter or akademisk kvart.

The academic quarter doesn’t have a clear origin, however it is quite common in Lund and Uppsala.
What does it mean? How did it come to be?

I guess the principle is the same in Uppsala, but in Lund the story goes like this:

Once upon a time in a small town of Lund, time keeping was done by the Lunds Domkyrka (the Cathedral). Not everyone had their own pocket watch, so people would wait for the church bell to ring in order to know the time.
Students, being forever the penniless bunch (some things never change, eh), belonged to those who didn’t own a pocket watch so they had to pay close attention to the church bell in order to get to school in time. Once the bell rang a full hour, students were given 15min to get to their lecture halls.

And there you have it – this tradition is still strong around here. Lectures will always start 15min after the scheduled time unless specifically stated otherwise. They even tell you this in Orientation as a proud tradition at Lund University.

At first, my punctual self insisted on being at school on (scheduled) time but my morning self prevailed so now I’m using the AQ as much as possible.

Oh and, if you’re off to a sittning or anything remotely formal after 6pm – double quarter will apply (30min). They say this is because in the old times, they gave the extra 15min so you could shower and dress up.

Ok, have to run to the gym now – they don’t allow for AQ!

Dena avatar

2 Comments

  • Victor Kalbskopf • 15 Jun 2016 at 6.51 pm Reply

    I’m surprised I haven’t heard about this tradition in other old university towns. Very interesting.

    • Dena
      Dena • 15 Jun 2016 at 10.21 pm Reply

      Glad to hear you found it so 🙂

      / Dena

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