It was not yet dawn when a long line of people was already formed on the outskirts of the Aztec stadium. They were nervous young people, accompanied by their parents who were even more restless than they were, all waiting for the doors of the “Colossus of Santa Úrsula” to open so that they could take the entrance exam to college. UNAM.
And how not to be with the soul in a thread if a lot was at stake, neither more nor less than the future, or part of it.
In the Azteca Stadium they played for a place in the UNAM
Passing that exam meant being one of the 120,000 happy students of the “highest house of studies in the country”, a phrase that many of those boys had heard as a mantra since childhood.
While not passing meant, probably for some, dishonor, being part of the seven thousand students who had to retake the test, looking for another option to continue studying, or outright discarding the idea of studying.
The UNAM entrance exam at the Azteca, a classic from the 70s and 80s
Every year, from the 70s and 80s, the same thing happened: as soon as the doors of the Azteca Stadium opened, the parade of boys and girls began. They aspired to one of the high schools or to one of the campuses of the College of Sciences and Humanitiesbetter known by its acronym CCH.
When the time to enter the Azteca Stadium arrived, each applicant received, first, the respective sign of the cross from their parents, then, the instructions of the UNAM staff how to get to the podium that corresponded to him.
Nervousness and pleasure to take the exam at the Azteca Stadium
As soon as they crossed the door they began, nervously, the ascent through the corridors towards their respective tier; for many it was the first time in the soccer cathedral of Mexico, so in addition to anxiety they experienced amazement at the dimensions of the “Colossus”.
In less than an hour the Azteca was full of excited young people, there was only one empty seat between each one to avoid the copier. If every weekend 24 soccer players dispute the results of the scoreboard using their heads and feet in this place, on this day 40 thousand boys, almost the same age, did the same but with their heads and hands.
Feel the vertigo of the Colossus of Santa Úrsula for the UNAM entrance exam
“It happened to me that I concentrated so much on the exam sheet that when I raised my face to look forward I got vertigo, I felt like I was going to run straight into the field,” Pedro Mendoza, who in In 1978 he had to take the test in one of the highest stands.
At the end of the 80s, the Azteca Stadium was no longer used to apply the admission exams to UNAM. Nobody suspected that a pandemic, that of Covid-19, would again make hundreds of applicants return to the Colossus of Santa Úrsula to present an admission test.
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