"NEWS" / Alexis Boucher / February 2018

Polish Superstitions for the College Student

Written by Alexis Boucher



Everyone has superstitions that they subscribe to, whether they acknowledge that they work or not. You don’t break mirrors out of fear of bad luck, you don’t walk under ladders, and you don’t tell an actor “Good luck” before a show. Every culture has their own unique superstitions, and the Polish have a few that can help even the most hopeless college student.


Don’t Drop Your Notebook

Be sure to keep your school notebooks tight in hand or safely in your backpack, because according to this Polish superstition if you drop one of them, you will have a surprise test in the subject that was dropped. If you have a four-subject notebook and drop it? Four surprise tests. Even if you don’t consider yourself overly superstitious, can you really afford to be flinging notebooks willy-nilly during exam season?

Start the Day With Your Right Foot

Or, alternatively, don’t start the day with your left foot. If you’re like me, your uncomfortable extra long twin bed is pushed flushed against the right wall of your dorm. This means that the natural way out of bed is leading with the left foot. According to Polish superstition, this is why my life is hard. To start off the day with good luck, make sure to lead with your right foot.

Ask The Dwarves

Has your mother ever accused an elf of living in the dryer to steal the family socks? Well, this is kinda similar in that if you lose things, you can blame something other than your own forgetfulness. If you want your missing item back, simply leave the room and speak through the closed door: “Play and put away.” Your missing item should be returned to where you left it.

Sit Down if You Forgot Something

We have all been in the situation where you’re halfway across campus and you realize that you left the report that you stayed up until 4am writing on your desk. Go back to your dorm and get it, but when you get there, sit down and count from 1 to 10. No one really knows why this is so widespread amongst Polish people, but in my experience, it does give me time to remember two other things that I also left the dorm without.

Not Over the Threshold

If you ever go to hug a Polish grandmother in a doorway, it’s likely that she’ll chastise you and say, “Nie przez próg!” If you want to greet someone, it is bad luck to do it with one person inside and one standing outside. This comes from the old times where people weren’t sure if guests were there to murder them or not, and by insisting that they greet the head of household eye-to-eye, someone could sure that they weren’t carrying weapons. So avoid that tedious Tinder date murder by greeting your booty call on one side of the threshold.

Don’t Put Down Your Handbag

No college student is rolling in wealth, so it’s important to follow this superstition closely. The story is that if a woman puts her handbag down on the floor, she will start to lose money. I don’t know the logistics of this floor demon stealing my hard-earned crumpled-up singles at the bottom of my purse, but I certainly don’t have enough money to test it. Keep your money in your wallet by hanging it on the chair, or sitting it in your lap, but never on the floor.

Couple these with your standard “don’t spill the salt” superstitions, and you might be better off in the long run. As Niels Bhor said, “I understand it brings you luck whether you believe it or not.”

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