For the returning juniors and seniors, you all know that the students at IMSA love their acronyms. Walking around campus — or, at least for this fall, chatting on Discord, Zoom, Messenger, and Hangouts — you’ll often hear students use lingo that can only be found at IMSA. For the incoming sophomores, although we’ll be starting the school year remotely and many of these words are only applicable on campus, you’re sure to hear and/or see some of these words come up in conversation with upperclassmen.
Whether you’re a returner who wants to feel some nostalgia or you’re a sophomore hoping to gain an understanding of IMSA talk before starting in-person, enjoy this list of some of the most commonly used student lingo that you might hear around campus.
1508 is not a hall. I repeat, not a hall. Despite being next in sequential order after 1507, it is actually a room in the main building. This room used to be where the seniors would hang out, and it was also occasionally used for extracurriculars.
AC Pit – Academic Pit
DO NOT call this room the A-C Pit. It’s pronounced “ack” pit, as a shortened version of the academic pit. It is a room in the main building with glass doors that is most commonly used for test-taking, but it is also sometimes used for other extracurricular activities.
Access road is the road that winds around campus, behind the halls, and past 07 towards the tennis courts. Nearly every IMSA student has been on an Access walk, either with friends or a significant other. Your IMSA experience is incomplete without Access walks, so once we get back on campus, be sure to go on one!
The Acronym is IMSA’s student-run newspaper that features a variety of different articles ranging from news stories pertaining to IMSA life to humorous lifestyle articles and covering everything in-between.
Since IMSA is a residential school, there are always different events going on to ensure we don’t get bored. This includes Bagel Parties, which are student-run events where everybody gets free bagels (funded by donations)! These parties always offer a huge variety of bagels and cream cheese flavors for students to choose from.
CAB – Campus Activities Board
CAB is the club responsible for most of the campus events that happen during the school year. They organize, plan, and execute fun events such as Clash of the Halls.
CAC – College and Academic Counselors
Every student is assigned a CAC (based on last name) who is there to help with college-related decisions such as financial aid and college admission testing, as well as IMSA academic-related subjects, such as course selection and scheduling processes.
Clash – CoTH, Clash of the Halls
Clash is a huge event that happens during second semester where every hall competes against one another in different events and competitions over the course of one week. These competitions include Hall Decs, riddles, pep rally, and many more. Since Clash takes place towards the end of the year, there is still hope that it’ll happen if we get back on campus for second semester!
Culture Shows – Diwali, Lunar, Harambee, Casa
As of last year, IMSA has four culture shows that happen throughout the year. These shows follow a script based on the culture and features different dances and solo acts. Anyone and everyone can participate in these shows, regardless of background. There is a Friday show for IMSA students, staff, and alumni, as well as a Saturday show which is for families and friends of students. After the Friday show, everyone gathers in Sodexo to enjoy food and drinks from that culture (donated by parents/families). These culture shows are a great way for the IMSA community to learn about different cultures, whether it be as a spectator or as an active participant.
Every wing has at least one Dinner Date every semester where students from that wing will invite someone from another wing on campus to be their dinner date. These events are one of the many ways that allow students to meet new people and get to know one another, and they get to do this while eating delicious food and staying out past 10 check!
The DNA Hallway is located by Old Caf and goes through the first-floor science classrooms and offices (SI Physics, SI Bio, Si Chem). It is a place where many class drills, culture shows, and other extracurriculars will hold dance practices. It also has an echo spot, so feel free to try and find it once we get back on campus!
Friday Fests are potlucks of homemade food organized by PAC (Parent’s Association Council). They often entail long lines and mobs of students, but it’s all worth it in the end. Check out Oliver Ni’s article, which features some advice on getting the most out of Friday Fests!
I-Day – Inquiry Day
As everyone knows, IMSA only has school four days a week. On Wednesday, we have something called I-Days, which are days where students are free to do homework, hang out with friends, and/or participate in SIRs or internships if you are a junior or a senior. For sophomores, you have Nav on I-Day’s, but you’re pretty much free for the rest of the day.
The name comes from the two “INs” of INnovation and INquiry, and it is the place that you can see through the windows as you enter through the main entrance. Many extracurriculars use this space to host different meetings and events. It’s a great place to go with your friends, whether it be to get homework done or just to hang out. Makerspace is located here, and it also has bean bags and conference rooms and whiteboards and beat saber!
When we come back from winter break, rather than starting classes right away, we have a week which is referred to as Intersession. During this week, students are able to participate in different classes of their choice where they learn skills that are not taught in normal classes (ex: knitting, card counting, rock climbing, songwriting, etc.). There are also Intersession trips that students can choose to go on. Last year, the locations of these trips included Hawaii and Dubai. It is uncertain whether Intersession will happen this year, but even if it does, it will most likely not include Intersession trips.
IRC – Information Resource Center
The IRC is our library. Located upstairs, not only does it offer different materials to check out, but it also has resources such as printers. This is a great spot to do homework between classes as well as during study hours.
ISP – IMSA Student Productions
ISP is the club that digitally documents everything that goes on at IMSA by taking pictures of events, live streaming culture shows, recording videos of different dances, etc. Be sure to join the IMSA Student Productions page on Facebook to have access to these amazing pictureonss and videos!
ITMC – Instructional Technology and Media Center
ITMC is a room located in B127 that provides the IMSA community with instructional technology and media resources, ranging from recording equipment to cameras, and even a green screen. Most language classes will have you go to ITMC at least once to record a video where you speak that language.
IVC – IMSA Virtual Campus
This is the Facebook page where different announcements for the student body will be posted, so it is important that all students have joined this page.
LEAD – Leadership Education and Development
The LEAD program is dedicated to teaching students about leadership. Every sophomore is required to participate in this year-long program and it is facilitated by upperclassmen. During first semester, students learn about leadership through CORE. During second semester, students choose an elective and either learn about social entrepreneurship (SocENT), social activism (EnACT), or data journalism (IMPACT). They use the semester to work on a project relating to that topic in preparation for SLX.
Located upstairs next to the IRC and between all the second-floor science classrooms, the loft completes IMSA’s holy trinity of the best and most common places to do homework (IN2, IRC, and the Loft). It is an open space with many tables and chairs and whiteboards and is a great place to either do homework or to hang out.
Located in IN2, this is a place that boasts many resources for students to use, ranging from 3D pens to 3D printers, and sticker printers to sewing machines. These resources can be used for school-related projects, but they can also be used for fun.
Math Study Area
The Math Study Area is located near all the math classrooms. It is another great place to do homework, but it is not as popular as some of the other spots. It is most commonly used for test-taking, just like the AC Pit, but it is also used by some extracurriculars, such as Math Team.
Lunch is not a designated class for students. Instead, we have Mid-Day. During this short time period, there are no classes happening so students are able to have a quick lunch before classes resume. There will also often be events happening during Mid-Day that students can participate in (such as face painting for pep rally). Pro tip: Mid-Day is usually very hectic and the lines can get long due to the sudden rush of students trying to eat lunch at the same time, so if you have an off-mod during the time that Sodexo is open, use that to your advantage and get lunch during that time.
At IMSA, we call periods “mods” (first mod, second mod, etc). Off-mods are mods in which you have no class (same thing as a free period).
NAV – Sophomore Navigation
Along with LEAD, another program that all sophomores are required to participate in is Sophomore Navigation. This program acts as an opportunity for students to have different discussions with one another about various topics such as the academic life at IMSA.
No Pond is the name given to the pond behind the halls. Next to this pond is a hill, as well as an area with picnic tables. Do not swim in No Pond, and definitely do not throw apples into No Pond.
Old Caf is the area outside Sodexo, and it is called that because that was once our cafeteria (hence, old cafeteria). Now, this is a spot that clubs and other extracurriculars will often hold events at, either during Mid-day or after school. Old Caf is also one of the main spots where class drills, culture shows, and other extracurriculars will hold dance practices.
RC – Resident Counselors
Every hall has 3-4 RCs. Your RCs become your parents away from home and they are there to keep you safe as well as help you whenever you may need it. Always reach out to your RC’s if you need help with anything, or even if you just want to chat and hang.
RSL – Residential Student Leader
Every hall has RSLs who are introduced at the beginning of the year, and they have different responsibilities depending on their position. There are three different positions: Wing Liaison, HCC, and HDC. There is one Wing Liaison per wing and they organize different wing events and act as a wing guide (before Wing Liaison, the position was called Wing Guides and there were two per wing). HCC stands for Hall Community Coordinator while HDC stands for Hall Diversity Coordinator, and these two positions are replacing CD, which stands for Community Developer, and MA, which stands for Multicultural Advocate.
Science Study Area
Of all the places to do homework in the main building, this is the most underrated location. That’s part of what makes it such a great place to do homework either by yourself or with friends. Oftentimes, this area will be empty because most people don’t go there, which means you can work in a quiet and peaceful place without getting bothered by any external distractions.
Short for freshmen, this is the affectionate nickname given to students who skipped 9th grade to attend IMSA. There are two variations of this slang word. “Pseudo shmen” refers to those who skipped a grade other than 9th grade and “super shmen” refers to those who skipped two grades (usually an earlier grade as well as 9th grade).
SIR – Student Inquiry and Research
The SIR Program is a program that happens on I-Days and is offered to students during their junior and senior year. Through this program, students are able to find either an on-campus SIR with an IMSA teacher or an off-campus SIR with a Chicago-area professor, in order to study a topic/subject of choice.
There are two parts to the slabs. You have the 05 slabs, and then you have the 02 slabs. This term refers to the areas in front of 1502 and 1505 where there are these giant blocks that kind of look like giant concrete benches. Although you can hang out at the slabs with your friends at any time, they are especially known for the slab parties, which happen throughout the year and are a lot of fun.
SLX – Student Leadership and Education Exchange
SLX is the event that happens at the end of LEAD where sophomores get to present their projects that they worked on in their electives during second semester.
SoCC / JCC / SCC
These are the three class clubs at IMSA: Sophomore Class Club (SoCC), Junior Class Club (JCC), and Senior Class Club (SCC). These clubs are responsible for negotiating student privileges as well as raising money for that class’s prom. People often get confused about this so to clear things up, the class club raises money for their own prom, not the prom of the current senior year.
Sodexo → Lexington
Sodexo is our cafeteria. It is infamous for serving food that a lot of students say “taste bad”, but that is all up to personal preference (for a lot of students, Sodexo food doesn’t taste bad, but rather, it gets repetitive and can make you miss homemade food). Despite this, Sodexo is another place where students make many memories, and you can often find students staying in Sodexo to hang out with their friends, rather than just eating. Although we switched to Lexington, most students will probably still refer to our cafeteria as Sodexo.
Stunion – Student Union
Stunion is located by the main gym and it is a great place to hang out and chill with friends. One of its main features is the giant mirror covering one of its walls. That area within Stunion acts as a dance studio and you can often see dancers practicing or freestyling for fun when you pass by. This is also a place where class drills, culture shows, and other extracurriculars will hold dance practices. The other main feature of Stunion is the ping pong table. You can often find students playing ping pong when you pass by Stunion. The only downside to this is that you need your own ping pong paddles and ball. Fun fact: A lot of the sophomores of the class of 22 referred to Stunion as Studion instead, so if you see or hear people saying Studion, you’ll know why.
Located next to Old Caf, the TV Pit is a place for students to gather. Students might come here to hang out or study during free mods or after school. Most clubs use this space to hold meetings and GAs.
At the bottom of nearly every staircase at IMSA, there is a bench that has a U shape (hence the name). Three of these U Benches have been “designated” for each class. The Sophomore U Bench is located right in front of the entrance of Sodexo, the Junior U Bench is on the other side of Old Caf, and the Senior U Bench is located at the staircase between the IRC and the Loft. Of course, anyone can be at any U Bench, regardless of class, but the Sophomore U Bench is called that because most of the students that hang around there are sophomores (and the same thing applies to the Junior U Bench and Senior U Bench as well).
Students are allowed to sign out at their RC office and go on walking trips with their friends to different places off-campus. Walking trips are always fun to go on, whether it be to buy necessities, get food, or simply to get off campus due to boredom. Once we get back on campus, be sure to go on a walking trip with your friends!
Yare refers to the giant field in between the main building and the first four halls. It’s called that because there is a statue on Yare that is said to look like a Y, A, R, and E at different angles.