The university where I work is a pretty magical place. In addition to providing an excellent liberal arts education for women and offering award-winning graduate programs for men and women, the sidewalks literally shimmer. No, really, it's from all the glitter. They joke that you automatically pick up a minor in crafting as you graduate. Hollins University is also known for the close bonds of sisterhood and for the individual attention that each student receives.
It doesn't hurt that the campus is gorgeous and the faculty, staff, and administration are incredibly caring and involved. But without a doubt one of the greatest perks is the traditions. There's First Step (when seniors step onto the quad for the first time), Ring Night (when junior girls are given zany tasks to complete to "earn" their class rings), but the favorite is Tinker Day. Every person on campus eagerly anticipates Tinker Day. The date is uncertain, but it occurs sometime after the first frost. The president chooses a day to declare a surprise holiday from classes. On Tinker Day, students are awakened by the seniors banging pots and pans through the residence halls at midnight and 6 A.M., and the chapel bells ring at 7 A.M. to summon everyone to the dining hall for doughnuts. After a sugary breakfast, many don costumes and gather in front of the steps of the Main building, where the president issues her proclamation (also in costume and with a feather duster "scepter"). Then the group heads off to climb nearby Tinker Mountain for skits, songs, and a picnic of fried chicken and Tinker Cake.
It's such a lovely reminder of the importance of silliness, of taking a break, and bonding as a community. Even on a rainy day like today, there is so much spirit and joy. We are all celebrating the character that makes us unique, and reveling in the opportunity to be together.
It's too bad that life in the "real world" doesn't offer Tinker Day, but perhaps we could start such traditions in our own lives. We all need a mental health day for rest and play. I'm going to go have mine.