Escape Room club challenges students with creative puzzles


Laura Zhang

Sophomores Michelle Kang, Akshaya Chakravarthy, Laura Guo, Prisha Rachakonda, and Mihika Dusad piece together a cube to reveal a message. “I thought the puzzles were really creative and unique. I’ve done a lot of escape rooms, but I’ve never seen any puzzles like the ones Escape Room club came up with before,” sophomore Zani Xu said.

Laura Zhang, Staff Writer

From Feb. 1 to Feb. 4, Jefferson students competed in teams to solve the Escape Room club’s winter escape rooms the fastest. For the past few months, the club has been hard at work coming up with backstories and puzzles for the escape rooms.

“An escape room is an event where you and a bunch of friends have to figure out a series of puzzles based on some theme,” senior and Escape Room club President Kareem Jaber said. “Our two winter escape rooms were uncovering an evil organization and turning the sun back on after it just turned off.”

Jaber was especially excited to showcase these escape rooms because it was the club’s first event after coming back to in-person school. Although they created virtual escape rooms last year, Jaber believes that nothing can compare to the thrill of traditional escape rooms.

“The anticipation of literally being in an escape room with a timer counting down as you’re trying to figure out the final puzzle is a classic part of escape rooms,” Jaber said. “Being able to bring that feeling back after a year and a half of being online has been really great.”

One of the biggest challenges Escape Room club faces is creating puzzles that can be solved within the 15-minute time limit. Because members are involved in the puzzle-making process from the beginning, it can be difficult for them to predict how long a puzzle will take.

“As the people who make the puzzles, we never really know how hard they are. A lot of times, we’ll make a puzzle, anticipating someone will solve it in three or four minutes, but they spend the entire time trying to solve it,” Jaber said.

In order to find a good difficulty level, the Escape Room club implemented measures such as beta testing and making several versions of puzzles. Their efforts proved to be successful, as participants found the escape room an appropriate challenge.

“The puzzles really forced me to think outside the box and pushed my brain to work quickly,” sophomore Zani Xu said. “The escape room was tough, but working with my friends definitely helped make it more doable.”

Along with solving puzzles faster, collaboration helped Xu’s team strengthen their friendships.

“The escape room was really chaotic since we were all talking and trying to figure out the puzzles before the time ran out,” Xu said. “Even though it was loud and somewhat confusing, I think that bouncing ideas off each other ultimately helped us become closer.”

Overall, Xu thoroughly enjoyed participating in an escape room and is looking forward to future Escape Room club events.

“[The escape room] was definitely a fun and worthwhile experience. We weren’t able to finish, but my friends and I still had a great time,” Xu said. “I would definitely do an escape room again, and hopefully, my team will even be able to finish next time.”