Every year, the Seniors end Ditch Day announcements with “Go to bed Frosh! Ditch Day is Tomorrow!” This isn’t some sort of hazing or power trip, a useless statement handed down from the past (though handed down it has been.) Quite the opposite, it’s just good advice. A night full of sleep benefits a day full of mental and physical challenges. Even more than that though, it’s because the Seniors need the campus to themselves to make the Magic of Ditch Day happen.
The seniors can build many parts of ditch day in secret: behind the closed doors of their rooms or inside of the plastic-sheeting enclosures labeled ‘seniors only’ that pop up around campus a few weeks before ditch day like huge, black, misshapen, flapping mushrooms after a rain. However, there are always (much more than) a night’s worth of tasks that can’t be done secretly in a campus not devoid of underclassmen.
The night is filled with the shouts of seniors and alumni running hither and thither moving puzzles into place, setting out clues, and putting the final (and in unfortunate cases initial) touches on all aspects of the day that would begin soon after the dawn. ‘Have you seen the drill?’ ‘I need some manpower!’ and from my sleep-deprived mouth at 5am ‘No time! I need to make a monster!’
Most seniors don’t sleep the night before Ditch Day, and in some cases like mine, for a couple nights before that. Thus a very, very explicit (almost) minute-by-minute plan for the night was essential lest one of the million tasks fall through giant, sleep-deprivation-induced mental gaps.
I’ll go into more detail of what we actually DID the night before as I talk about the components of my stack, but I’ll leave you with two pictures that capture some of what the night is like:
Things you can’t do secretly when underclassmen are around – move a several 500 lb blocks of ice.
And this picture sums up the feelings of 6am – cold, stressed,satisfied and ‘HOW CAN IT BE LIGHT ALREADY’