Traditions to cherish and forget

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August 21, 2009

12:16 PM

You’ve toured the campus, read all the brochures you could get your hands on and stalked your future classmates’ Facebook profiles — but you still don’t think you have a good idea of what lies ahead. Like every school, the College of William and Mary has its advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a snapshot of the College’s best and worst traditions:

*Best: Opening Convocation*: You worked your butt off to get into this school, so it seems only fair that you get a standing ovation, right? Well, that’s what Convocation is, more or less. Each year, the freshman class walks through the Sir Christopher Wren Building to receive a warm and enthusiastic greeting from hundreds of students at the College.

*The Triathlon*: For thrill seekers, the Triathlon is a must before graduation. Students must streak across the Sunken Garden, jump the Governor’s Palace wall and swim the Crim Dell. Jumping the wall is often a bonding experience for many freshman halls.

*Blowout*: On the last day of classes in the spring, the College offers fun activities in the Sunken Garden including Moon bounces and free food giveaways. Many students pre-game their classes, which is typically in preparation for getting totally wasted later that day. Some don’t even wait that long.

*Late-Night Wawa Runs*: Many a friendship has been cemented on a late-night trip to Wawa. While it may not seem like a big deal to grab a snack during a study break or after a night of partying, you may find that you have the best conversations with your friends during these late night trips.

*Yule Log*: Students look forward to this yearly tradition which includes the president of the College in full Santa Claus costume, reading “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and the vice president of student affairs reading a special version of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Afterward, two good-luck logs are passed through the crowd for anyone to touch, and then the spectators toss a sprig of holly into the large fire to rid themselves of worries for the following year.

*Worst: Freshman Orientation*: When it comes to bonding with your hallmates and those funny but awkward moments at mixers, freshman orientation is great. The downside is the unrelenting heat, nonstop walking and boring lectures. Despite all the trekking, many students are still totally lost on the first day of classes.

*Registration*: It’s a necessary evil. During freshman and sophomore year, you probably won’t get all the classes you want. If the Banner system is being difficult, you could get kicked out two seconds into the registration period., and if you’re really unlucky, you might even sleep through registration and wake up to find all of the slots in the good classes have been filled.

*Football games*: Students at the College definitely have Tribe Pride and go wild for Homecoming. However, football games usually are accompanied with a familiar disappointment. The student section is often filled with green and gold spirit — usually sported by the pep band.

*Family Weekend*: When you’re a freshman and you feel like a fish out of water, Family Weekend may seem like a lifeline. In a temporary return to normalcy, you get to hang out with your family and friends at receptions, concerts and other planned activities. But, it is always nice to have mom and dad buy a nice dinner off campus.

*Final Exam Period*: During final exams, most students get about four to five hours of sleep. Students leave the library with red eyes at 2 a.m. and then station themselves at its entrance bright and early the next morning at 8 a.m. It’s a stressful time, but it makes Blowout that much more enjoyable.

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