Seasons May Change
I’ve been thinking a lot about seasons.
My first year at Vanderbilt was the first time I really experienced these so-called “seasons.” I’m from Northern California, and although our weather is wonderfully mild, it’s also pretty uneventful. Partly cloudy days at a consistent 60 degrees (with just a touch of fog in the early morning) are a staple in both the summer and the winter.
Nashville, on the other hand, is a whole different world. The year begins with summer, and though the humidity can be torture, there’s something new and exciting and sleepaway-camp-like about Vanderbilt in the summer. The chirping of cicadas fills the night air, like they too are anticipating the start of something great. Then one day, the fall arrives, and the trees turn colors that you thought only existed in movies and the Vanderbilt viewbook. Leaves flutter down when the wind picks up, and it’s just chilly enough to wake you up on the walk to class.
The winter is cold; so cold that sometimes you walk outside and the tiniest little flecks of white powder are falling from the sky and sticking to your sweater, but you don’t even care because it’s snowing. For a California kid, the winter can be brutal, but it’s all in preparation for the First Warm Day. You remember in an instant how nice the sun feels, and before you know it, everyone you know is on the lawn, playing Frisbee and eating popsicles and playing their guitars.
I love California, but man, do we miss out.
When I say that one of my favorite things about Vanderbilt is the seasons, though, I don’t just mean the literal, Earth-rotating-around-the-sun seasons. As much as life at Vanderbilt is crazy unpredictable in the best way possible, there’s a kind of rhythm to the year that I’m noticing as I approach the halfway mark of my second year here. Every season has its own little traditions that make my time here seem even shorter.
First Week of Classes: I’m one of those kids who always loved the first day of school, so maybe I’m a little biased on this one. There are new professors to learn from and new classmates to meet and new notebooks to write in. The walk to class feels like a fresh start to your routine. I may even get excited about the first assignment in all of my classes.
Org Fair: Okay, so the annual org fair is technically for first-years to help them learn about how to get involved, but I have complete confidence that I will be there looking for cool new opportunities every year. Commons Center is literally packed full of tables and tri-folds and excitement, and it’s just the coolest representation of how much passion Vandy students have for the things that they do.
Football Tailgates: The funny thing about football tailgates is that they’re one of those things that I didn’t even know I wanted in a college until I got here. But hey, sun, friends, music, school spirit, and cowboy boots? I’ll be there. I miss tailgating season already.
Homecoming Block Party: For me, this is one of the highlights of all of Homecoming week (and not just because they give out free long sleeves every year). Every year, Vanderbilt Programming Board puts on this huge block party-style celebration complete with free ice cream, carnival games, and a featured musical performance. Aaron Carter came this year, which apparently was a huge throwback to childhood for everyone but me. I’m still not sure what he used to be in that made him so famous, but it was still a great night.
Halloween: Every year on Halloween, the Greek community and athletic department team up to do an event called Trick or Treat with Greeks and Athletes, which is where kids from surrounding neighborhoods come to all of the sorority and fraternity houses to trick or treat. Some of the kids are even accompanied by a real-life Vandy athlete. My sorority sisters and I all dressed up and passed out candy to the cutest little munchkins I have ever seen in my entire life.
Rand Holiday Celebration: If you’ve ever read one of my blogs, you know that I already love the food here. Now imagine that times a hundred, and you have the Rand Holiday Celebration. Every holiday season, Rand, aka our main dining hall, goes all out for us and pulls off a crazy-extravagant feast, complete with a fun theme. This year’s theme is Vegas, it’s TOMORROW, and rumor has it that there’s going to be prime rib. So, so, so excited.
SNOW: Granted, last year was a bit of an anomaly. We had a crazy ice storm, and consequentially had two snow days, which was completely unheard of in Vanderbilt’s long history. But even if we don’t get a snow day this year, the sheer idea of snow is still such a novelty to me. Last year, I checked snow angels, sledding on Commons lunch trays, and building a snowman off the list, so I’m really holding out for some snowball-worthy snow this year in preparation for an all-out snowball fight.
Studying Outside for the First Time in Forever: I know this isn’t an actual event or anything, but after a long winter, any time that you actually want to be outside is a cause for celebration. I remember the first time I visited Vanderbilt, I made sure to scope out all of the places where I could lay out on the grass and get some good reading in. I have to say that while it feels just as awesome as it looks in the viewbooks, it is significantly less productive than expected.
Rites of Spring: I’m the absolute worst at actually getting into Nashville and going to concerts, so Rites of Spring is such a blessing to me: it brings an entire music festival right to Alumni Lawn. This is another one of those things that I didn’t know I would love until I experienced it. Rites falls right at the end of the year, so it’s the perfect way to just celebrate the friends you have and the memories you made over the last eight or nine months.