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How to Simulate the COOP Experience At Home

COOP was cancelled this year, which means you lost your one opportunity at making life-long bonds with other Columbians by braving the wild outdoors and peeing in bushes together. But don’t fret—Bwogger and past COOP participant Chloe Gong is here to share with you how to simulate the full COOP experience at home, without any of the gross parts. 

Step 1: Practice saying your name, pronouns, school affiliation, intended major and most importantly, a FUN FACT about yourself. Trust me, not only is this an essential part of the  COOP experience, but it will also prepare you well for virtual NSOP. 

Step 2: Make a playlist of all the songs that get you hyped up and feeling energetic. You’ll be needing this later. 

Step 3: MYOG—Make Your Own GORP! (don’t you just love all the acronyms?)

GORP, if you didn’t know already, stands for “Good Old Raisins and Peanuts.” It’s basically a very ~lavish~ trail mix, but it’s surprisingly tasty when you’re on the road/trail/river and depleted of nutrients. 

You can adjust the ingredients based on your own preference (and allergies of course), but the classic COOP GORP contains the following:

  • raisins
  • mixed nuts (peanuts, almonds, cashews, whatever your heart desires)
  • M&Ms
  • an unexpected addition, but DRIED APRICOTS

Step 4: Choose which of the three programs (BOP, ROP, and HOP) you want to participate in.  (BOP=biking, ROP=river-canoeing, HOP=hiking)

Step 5: Follow your chosen program.

If you chose BOP…

This program is pretty difficult to simulate indoors, so I would suggest choosing another program if you don’t have access to a large enough outdoor space.

However, if you have a lot of open space around your home or you live near a public park, and you have a bike—go on a bike ride! To fully simulate the experience, find a steep hill. Ride down the hill and then ride back up (remember to wear your helmet), all while blasting the playlist you made in Step 2. Repeat until your legs start cramping. And then keep on going while screaming your favorite songs at the top of your lungs. Remember to lather on some sunscreen so you don’t get burnt. Eat GORP and drink tons of water!

If you chose ROP…

Obviously the simulation works best if you can actually find a river to canoe in, but that’s unrealistic for most of us. So this is what you can do if you want to experience ROP indoors. 

First, you’ll need a body of water. A pool is great if you have one, but a bathtub works just as well. Now, if you’re in SEAS, I’m expecting you to be able to hand-craft some sort of boat or raft, because that’s the only reason you’re exempt from the swimming requirement. But if you’re not an engineer, a large floatie or a small inflatable pool will do. Whatever floats your boat, you know? 

Put the buoyant object you’ve chosen to use in the body of water, and try to stay afloat while sitting in or on top of the object. FaceTime your friends because all you’ve really got when you’re on a canoe floating over water is the time to socialize. Paddle from time to time, but you don’t have to put in a TON of effort. After all, ROP is known for requiring the least physical exertion. Still, eat GORP. 

If you chose HOP…

HOP is supposedly slightly less physically demanding than BOP, but unlike in BOP, you don’t get the luxury of having a van driving alongside the bikers and carrying everyone’s gear. 

So get ready for some sore shoulders. Grab a big backpack and stuff it with camping equipment and food items. The heavier, the better, which means none of that half-empty bag of chips nonsense. You want the actually nourishing stuff. Cans of tuna. Carrot Sticks. And, of course, GORP!

You can simply walk around in your home all day while carrying that backpack or make the experience even more immersive by climbing up and down staircases. Your calves will look nice and toned by the end of it. 

Step 6: You’ve finally reached your camp site. You can finally regain all those expended calories with some delicious Mac and Cheese or a very simple DIY burrito bowl. Don’t cook anything too fancy, because you’re only able to bring so many ingredients on a camping trip. But you can reward yourself with some S’mores, because those are the highlight of any camping trip. If you can’t actually toast marshmallows on an open fire, try using fluff instead!

Step 7: It’s time to set up your sleeping quarters. If you have a backyard and a tent, get your family to help you put the tent up and sleep inside it with a sleeping bag all night. I won’t force you to do this if it’s raining out, so you’re lucky you don’t have to sleep in a literal puddle with no space to move your limbs. 

If you don’t have a backyard, just sleep on the floor of your home with a sleeping bag or a flimsy blanket underneath you. 

Make an alarm for early in the morning with the ringtone set as Here Comes The Sun by the Beatles. You’ll be so exhausted by the end of the day that you’ll fall asleep before you notice any discomfort. 

Step 8: Wake up to your soothing-ish alarm and start getting ready. You’ve got another long day ahead of you. 

Step 9: Repeat steps 5-9 for three more days. 

Step 10: Celebrate by finally taking a hot shower. 

Congrats for finishing your four-day long COOP journey! Hope you enjoyed this simulation! Now you have something you can talk nonstop to your new friends about. 

Lastly, we want to say to all incoming first-years: even without the pre-orientation programs and an in-person NSOP, you’ll still have plenty of opportunities to meet people and make friends at Columbia! Your worries and concerns are valid, and we at Bwog want to do everything we can to help with your transition into college. For now, let’s have as much fun as we can while still wearing our masks and social distancing!

camping via Bwog Archives

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