Homecoming: the Highlights

In high school, homecoming consisted of a singular night of dressing up and dancing, perhaps accented with a pep rally and school spirit.  At W&M, it is an entire week of non-stop revelry that students begin planning for as soon as the school year kicks off.  With an overwhelming amount of activities- every single organization on campus feels the need to make their voice heard in the din of school spirit that is homecoming- it can be overwhelming.  So I’ve brought you the highlights of what is my personal experience with the homecoming hysteria.

1. Monday night: Paper due at 11 am Tuesday morning, yet I still offered up my house to host my sorority’s float-building.  (During homecoming, sororities and fraternities will pair up for a week of parties and usually create a float together to enter into the Homecoming Parade.)  As I sit in my room at the desk I never use I try to block out the sounds of music and shouting and planning that is bursting through the paper-thin piece of wood that is my door.  Literally impossible.  Instead I spend twenty minutes destroying a German chocolate cupcake from Extraordinary cupcakes (lived up to its name) and watching an episode of The League. Two hours later, after giving up on work, paying a visit to the float building, trying to go to my best friend’s house next door, blasting my headphones in hopes that it will block out the noise, and debating going to the library (Swem) for a minute before realizing I am far too lazy to ever walk that far, I give up any vain attempt on writing this essay and mournfully set my alarm for a sharp 7:30 am.

2. Wednesday night: If you ever thought that maybe you belonged in the 70’s, you probably should have hit me up Wednesday night.  Thanks to the incredible overachiever-ness of one of my best friends and member of our partner fraternity, we hosted the Right On Band in the Sunken Gardens for Wednesday night of homecoming.  Complete with fro’s, glitter, platform boots, and dancing go-go girls, the Right On band (who has played for the past four presidents and at Obama’s Inaugural Ball) led a huge groovin’ love train around the Sunken Gardens.  Far out.

3. Thursday night: As Vice President Event Planning (pretentious title drop) for my sorority, I do a lot of work that I wouldn’t necessarily say I jump out of bed for: kicking rowdy people out of Formal, harassing local venues to get me their contracts in time, managing finances… This night, however, I had been planning for since June.  I’m sure by now you’ve caught on to the “raving” trend that has snowballed into quite the phenomenon (Taylor Swift dubstep? really?).  Well I’ve got to admit I’ve caught the bug.  Guilty as charged.  So I set to planning a rave for my sorority and fraternity’s Thursday night of homecoming.  We did the whole nine yards and brought in a production company with laser lights, black lights, strobe lights, fog machine and, of course, a heavy bass.  The result was everything the little raver in me dreamed of and more.  Ninety girls and fifty guys (good odds, eh gentlemen?) piled into the room in neon, rave tutus (do they have an actual name?), fluffies, sequin shorts (guilty), face paint, and excesses of glitter.  The same ninety girls and fifty guys left two hours later in a disarray of glow sticks, sweat, and sore dancing muscles.  A successful night if ever I saw one.  I hope the drivers on Richmond Road enjoyed watching us parade past in full rave apparel.

4. Friday night: Time for a classier turn of events; tonight is the members-only opening for the Muscarelle Museum’s 12th Faculty Show.  As an intern for their Advancement Department (kind of a mash-up of marketing, communications, and development), I like to pretend I have VIP life status by attending these events.  They generally consist of a classy array of wine, cheese, and elder residents in pearls and hats that would make any derby run proud.  As an Art History major, the museum satisfies my every innate nerdy desire to pretentiously gaze at and evaluate art.  Making it even more appropriate that I dedicate the beginning of my Friday evening to dressing up classy (happens about once a year) and sneaking gourmet cheeses from a back table while listening to my Professor (Distinguished Scholar in Residence Dr. Spike) lecture on everything from Close to Preti.  There’s always time for dancing when the opening ends at 8.

5. Saturday night: One of the harder decisions of my homecoming career.  I work at the local bar Paul’s Deli (the bars here are called Delis or Taverns), and homecoming Saturday is hands-down the busiest night of the year.  Non-stop packed from wall to wall from noon until close at 2 am.  I worked this shift last year with my roommate/best friend and saw several girls cry, one couple break up over a beer, an alumni pass out in the bathroom and took home an entire pizza because whoever ordered promptly forgot about it.  And not going to lie, the tips are out the wahoozers.  So in the end, it’s worth sacrificing the one evening of revelry with friends because all of the tips enthusiastic alumni shove on the poor college bartender (that’s me!) are going straight into my piggy bank for my spring semester in Paris.

In every corny and sentimental meaning of the word, I have had more singular bonding experiences and lasting memories with my friends during homecoming than any other week of the year.  Half-way through and already sad to see it go, welcome home Tribe!

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