Where’d the Andre go?
In the fall of 2015 I was sitting with my roommates in my two-room triple on the second floor of West learning about a long-standing Colby tradition. Sophie sat on her bed across from me casually tossing a die in the air as we read directions off a blue sheet of paper that was slid under our door earlier that day. I remember feeling a part of the Colby community that extended further than just the four class years here. The sheet informed us that the game was created at Colby and people have played it at the College since the 1980s.
The simple act of an upperclassman placing a tradition right at our door made us all smile. Though we didn’t play ‘Die’ often, we knew the rules and listened to the first year boys that lived above us drop the die on their floor many nights. Every time we heard a “dink” on our ceiling, my roommate and I would look at each other and smile. I would imagine all the games that had been played in Colby’s history and about the generations of students that had lived in my room. It was very comforting.
I felt this feeling again when l was able to participate in Loudness for the first time at the end of the fall semester my first year (I was in sports season for the beginning of semester Loudness). Loudness was an SGA weekend that marked the beginning and end of each semester in a campus-wide celebration. It was another tradition that all Colby students were able to participate in, and it was also a common term that alumni could relic in too.
At the end of spring semester on the last day of class, I was sitting on Miller Lawn with friends, enjoying the sun for the first time in months, when a water balloon landed inches from my feet. Again a smile spread across my face as I looked at the stairs of Miller packed with seniors. They were laughing and sling shotting water balloons all over the lawn with bottles of Andre champange in their hands. The pure joy on the class of 2015’s faces left me smiling for the rest of the day.
Since my first year, the joy of seeing various Colby traditions has been returning less and less. First years no longer receive dies under their door the first week of school with a detailed description of the game; Loudness has been banished by the administration; Champagne on the Steps is now an eighth sin. Tradition after tradition is being eradicated from Colby’s culture.
Addie Bullock ’18 recalled her experience watching traditions slowly disappearing like flies: “Traditions are an aspect of the community that links generations of Colby students and makes the Mule community stronger. It’s important to preserve traditions and add traditions. The fact that we don’t have champagne on the steps because of an incident that happened 11 years ago is blatantly disrespectful to the senior class and future generations of Colby students.”
The traditions left standing at Colby are next to go. The Fish Bowl, an oasis for underclassmen on the weekends, is going to be converted to a common room or boarded up. Pig Roast, a campus wide daytime event hosted by the Football team that has received a lot of pushback from administration in past years, is more ambiguous than ever.
The administration would argue this change is for the better. After all, many of these events do revolve around drinking. However, these traditions were more than just about consuming alcohol. They’re about coming together with the rest of the Colby community, whether you drink alcohol or not.
Instead of finding more of these “comforting smile” moments as I’ve gotten older, I am constantly sick to my stomach worrying about my next lab report or midterm. I am pulling back-to-back all nighters attempting to finish all of my schoolwork, only to face more work the next day. When I sit down for a meal with friends, I am planning out my next six hours of work and what early hour I plan to wake up so I can do more work.
The college culture has traded in its dies for keys to study rooms. Yes, we are intellectuals who work hard and are at Colby first and foremost to learn. But if we aren’t able to find that balance of work and play, how are we supposed to enjoy our college experience? When we look back on our time at Colby, what will we remember? I know that I will remember learning the directions of Die with my roommates my first year, not the grade-A paper that I got back from my latest government professor in class.
Next Thursday, instead of sitting in the library looking longingly at the sun reflecting off the pond, go build a slip and slide, sit in Dana for two hours with friends, or better yet, go toss a die.