Journey to a teekkari cap

The teekkari cap is an auspicious symbol of the teekkari (technical student) lifestyle. It has a very rich history dating back to 1893. It is a summer cap which can be worn from 1st May (wappu) to 30th September. Special permission is required to wear the cap outside of these dates. But what if you were not born and raised in Finland? Does it mean you can never get this cap? Well, not really.

But in order to get the cap you should first integrate with Finnish culture, most importantly teekkari culture. So as a student at Aalto, you can get the teekkari point card from your respective guild and start filling in the points by attending a variety of events and doing a whole bunch of different things that are part of the teekkari lifestyle. The points on the card are divided into different sections, and I’ll go over all the sections and major events required to get a teekkari cap.

Mandatory points: [Total: 6, Min: 6]

This section includes points for joining the guild, attending an international event and completing at least 15 study credits. A singing test is also mandatory, where you can sing different songs, maybe from some sitsit song book. Teekkaris are required to know the “Teekkari Hymn” by heart to pass the singing test. This section also includes a point for visiting the Teekkari Polytechnic Museum.

International section: [Total: 5, Min: 2]

This section includes events where you get the chance to meet people of different nationalities. These events include international sitsits, ESN (Erasmus Student Network) events and Café Lingua, among others. The idea behind Café Lingua is that people from various cultures can get together in a café and exchange languages while making new friends at the same time.

Events Section: [Total: 11, Min: 5]

This section has many fun-filled events for students to refresh their minds from hectic studies. Some of them include orienteering (check point crawl for fun activities) and a career event (a career fair for job hunting). It also includes winter day, which is a sauna crawl, because the sauna is an integral part of Finnish culture, so true teekkaris must visit a sauna. Laskiaisrieha is another fun activity to go sledding during the snowy season. Some of the points in this section can be obtained in the fall while others can be obtained in the spring.

Photo by Mikko Raskinen

Finland: [Total: 7, Min: 3]

This section includes getting-to-know-Finland points. Some of the activities include visiting a historical landmark, taking a trip to Lapland, swimming in an ice hole and going to an ice hockey game. You can also get points for learning a few Finnish phrases and attending a language course.

Teekkari culture: [Total: 7, Min: 3]

This section includes activities more specific to teekkari culture, like attending an appro or a speksi. An appro is a bar crawl, and a speksi is a skit but a little different from traditional skits. In a speksi, the audience can also take part by saying ‘omstart’, followed by some instructions, and the performers have to improvise accordingly. For example, if an actor says something in English, someone could shout ‘omstart, say it in Chinese’, and the actors have to improvise for a short while before resuming the actual act. Jäynä is also included in this section; this is a harmless joke or prank that teekkaris can play on other people. The idea is that everybody participating in a jäynä should enjoy it and nobody should be offended. Some other points can be obtained by getting overalls or selling a wappu magazine.

Guild section: [Total: 12, Min: 5]

This section includes activities that can help you integrate with your guild members. It includes hanging out in the guild room and making Finnish friends. Some of the events include the freshman party and freshman cruise where you get the chance to meet and get to know other freshmen. The only mandatory point in this section is to attend the annual ball or guild sitsit. This section also includes some open points, which allow you to get points for some activities that are not listed on the card or maybe you did something with other guilds.

Work point: [Total: 4, Min: 1]

Volunteering is an integral part of Teekkari culture. Most of the events mentioned above are organized by volunteer teekkaris. So in order to become a true teekkari, it is imperative that you know about the effort and time that goes into making the events happen. A work point is an opportunity to get a feel of such an experience. You can work on a freshman party, a sitsit, the annual ball or some other place you choose to work voluntarily. Some common work types include making food, pouring drinks at the bar, working in the cloak room, or cleaning up after the event.

The point card includes a total of 52 points, out of which at least 30 points are required for freshmen of a full degree to get the cap. If you are studying only for one semester, you can get the cap by earning 15 points, but the mandatory points must be obtained.

In short, this is an amazing journey in a teekkari’s life and even an amazing reward at the end. But getting a cap should not mean that you stop participating in teekkari activities. It should motivate you to participate more actively.

Photo by Erica Nyholm

By Zaheer

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