I’ve been at home and away from Swarthmore for quite some time now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While it’s been nice to be at home with my family, I am definitely missing Swarthmore and its wonderfully weird traditions. Thus, I have decided to make a list of Swat traditions that you can bring to your own home too!
- First Collection
Starting out strong, we have First Collection! This was the first time I really began to feel at home in the Swarthmore community, so it holds a very special place in my heart. For the at-home version, I don’t have President Val Smith at my disposal to make a speech or a professor or a member of the senior class for that matter. Instead, I simply light one the hundreds of candles I’ve bought on Etsy, line up all of the old stuffed animals I grew up with on my bed, and say a few wise words myself. Usually, an a-capella group will perform as well, so I’ll sing whatever song has been on my mind lately. Most recently Miley Cyrus’s cover of Heart of Glass has been living in my head rent-free so that’s what I’ve been using. Feel free to substitute this song for one of your favorite songs! I then blow out the candle and take in the atmosphere.
- Screw Your Roomate
This is the most wonderfully painful and awkward Swat experience I’ve ever had. Now I don’t really have much to work with here as the only other people in my house are my mom and dad and they are actually already in a loving and committed relationship so they’re out of the running. That leaves my dog Mochi and my cat Bodie, but the last time Bodie licked Mochi she tried to bite him, so I don’t want to stir up any drama. This leaves inanimate objects, meaning my, you guessed it, stuffed animals I grew up with! My favorites were Ellie the elephant who was an off-brand Webkinz and a very old Glowworm that doesn’t light up anymore. As for our matching costumes, I was thinking Woody and Buzz Lightyear because I have both those toys and can pull off their costumes for this tradition. I will then place the two together to have awkward small talk and exchange numbers only to give each other awkward smiles around the house whenever they see each other.
- Pterodactyl Hunt
I have to come clean here, I’ve never participated in the Pterodactyl Hunt. I know, I know, but I really hope to once I am back on campus! I have, however, LARPed before so I think I have a general idea of what happens. So I will again utilize my stuffed animals, craft a really in-depth character sheet for myself, and engage in fighting imaginary monsters. I also have a bunch of old Halloween costumes that I can salvage different parts from for a costume!
- Mary-Lyon Halloween Party
This one is perfect for anyone who loves all things spooky. To fully immerse myself in this scenario, I will walk around the neighborhood twice to get the feel for walking to ML from campus. Once I am fully dressed in my costume and fairly tired, I am ready to party. I will put on some Halloween classic songs like the Monster Mash and go wild for about 20 minutes until I get tired and head over for some snacks and pumpkin carving. I can wrap up the night by admiring the costumes of the Swatties around me (maybe I can convince my family to join in) and watch a scary movie!
- Primal Scream
Now this one is probably my favorite Swarthmore tradition and surprisingly very easy to do at home! You can even do it during a zoom call! Simply mute yourself and cover your mouth and scream away, it’ll just look like you’re yawning to your fellow classmates. If that’s not your thing, you could actually stand up on a table and scream at midnight, but considering I’m currently living with my parents, noise could be an issue. To reduce the noise, I recommend using a pillow to help muffle the sound. The scream can last as long as you need it to depending on your current stress levels or level of enthusiasm. Once you’re done, you can put some Eggo waffles in the toaster and feast on some breakfast as if you were at Sharples with all of your friends.
I really miss Swarthmore, and I can’t wait to be able to be back on campus and participate in these traditions in person, though I did learn a lot of things about myself from writing this list, one of them being the fact that I have a lot of stuffed animals.